Set in Santiago’s upmarket Vitacura district, Boragó – one of the city’s culinary highlights – is a celebration of Chilean flavours and traditional cooking techniques, and an exercise in pure food theatre. Indigenous ingredients all figure prominently in chef Rodolfo Guzman’s (first picture) creative tasting menus, which can take a wonderfully indulgent few hours to consume.
We arrived for our 8pm reservation and, this being South America, had the place to ourselves for almost an hour. Despite being voted to the number five spot in the 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America, it was surprisingly low key, with plates replaced by slate slabs and wooden blocks (second picture) and twigs used to skewer offerings.
Our meal began with amuse-bouches – five or so, including tiny devilled eggs, fruit-infused gelatine squares and savoury doughnuts. The waiters detailed the many ingredients used in the preparation of our eight-course Endémica menu (around $88), but there’s also a 16-course Raqko version (around $55) and the option of wine or juice pairing – where dishes are matched with delights such as Patagonian glacial rainwater and coastal strawberry juice.
Standout dishes included thinly sliced Chilean rhubarb and hazelnut milk-infused mushrooms, poached egg under a dusting of ash that is meant to be mixed together to create an earthy texture, and a deconstructed version of porotos granadas, a traditional Chilean stew featuring squash and lima beans. Tender venison crudo and rockfish in quince juice made for unexpected flavour and texture combinations, not to mention great conversation starters.
Just under two hours into our adventure came dessert. The rica rica de Atacama was a clear winner – comprising a cracked cookie designed to mimic the surface of the Atacama Desert and set atop rica rica (a local aromatic medicinal herb) flavoured ice cream.
It isn’t every day that a restaurant knocks your socks off, but Boragó managed it with ease.