Endemic Joy at Boragó Restaurant, Santiago
Concern about finding the restaurant will be quickly forgotten once you step inside Boragó. Minimalist furnishings tending toward cold austerity juxtaposition the exceptional warmth of the service. The FoodieMookie crew settle in for what is an impressive culinary adventure of the Endemica menu. A menu which explores Chile’s “corner of the world” on a slate, stone or plate.
Rodolfo Guzmán is a culinary champion of Chilean cuisine and the owner and head chef. After time spent with Andoni Luis Aduriz at Mugaritz in Spain he returned to Chile to set up Boragó. He struggled against local resistance to his fine dining conceptualization of native Chilean produce but, if the full house is anything to go by, he won. Unlike many other chef’s however, Rodolfo isn’t looking to open new restaurants but instead is focused on continuing his research into the Chilean natural larder which is then translated into the dishes at Boragó.
Confronting would be a word to describe the stone ware at Boragó, and that word can also often be said about the food – a native flower filled with raw shrimp and coated in what appears to be dew drops and tiny leaves is just one example of the utterly unexpected but none-the-less delicious menu. A beautiful marigold flower dish, nod to Van Gogh, provides an excellent example of the chef’s artistic appreciation yet is confronting in the bitterness of marigold buds. The Crew enjoy the eye-openers but are unanimous that by far the star dish is the “A la inverse” lamb with a mille feuille of black chauras from Patagonia. The lamb having cooked since midday is being served straight from the fire pit to plate and is tender and juicy. This fact very obviously makes the attendant presenting chef, and the FoodieMookie crew, ecstatic with the results. Another call out must also be made to the juice match, which was as novel as the menu itself and lingers in the memory of the recipient.
Borago truly is worth a trip half way around the globe. Listening to the wait staff present each dish, the origin of the ingredients and the method of preparation (often from the Machute people indigenous to Chile’s Andean region) helps to spirit Mookie and her Crew on a whirlwind tour of Chile itself without ever leaving their seats. There is no better way to spend a night in Santiago. Do try for yourself.