The large patio is on the front of the modern building that houses Boragó. The night we ate there, no diners were there instead it was filled with a grill and kitchen folks tending a large piece of lamb and other foods. The smells were an enticing way to enter. Inside, the dining room was a rectangular space book-ended with walls of windows (one looking out on the front patio). Another wall is made up of the good sized kitchen and many personnel. The bare tables are made of large planks of wood that are nicely spaced around the room on an interesting concrete and stone floor. Chef Rodolfo Guzmán built BORAGó the end of 2006 to focus exclusively on food from the Chilean territory, some gathered by the chefs themselves and other items from small local producers.
The upstairs of the building is a test kitchen area where they try new ideas and come up with their preparation techniques to use unique items they have acquired. Guzmán’s passion for his vision is evident and compelling. They offer a 2 surprise tastings with optional wine pairings, which are a better value than the pricy wine list. The first, Endemica, is 15-20 things and pairings come with 7 of the courses (some courses have multiple things) or the Raqko which is 6 preparations with wine pairings for 5 courses. Juice pairings are also available. We chose the Endemica menu with pairings and started with a house cocktail. It should be noted that the water served in the restaurant is from rain water in the Patagonia and served in glasses that almost need 2 hands, they are so wide.
We started with a “cookie from Chile.” Chilenito contained crab, caramelized milk curds and smoked coriander. Also there was a broth of seaweed, stems, the inside of a honeycomb and local seasonings. Both had mild flavors but really interesting textural contrasts. It surprised me that there was no fishy taste in the broth, rather it was very pleasant and the items within gave you chewy, firm and spongy textures.
The Copihue is the Chilean Bellflower, a beautiful flowering vine in Chile, the national flower of Chile. It was stuffed with Chilean coconut and murtillas, known as Chilean guava. The flower was really crisp with a slight sweetness on the outside. Another mild flavor but very pleasant, again with fun textures.
House made butter and bread, marraqueta, were next. Served warm and tender, this bread is very popular in Chile.
Chupe (stew) of mushrooms from Quintay included milk, bread and various types of mushrooms with a juice of Kaffir lime, yogurt and leaves. Again interesting textures but this time very savory tastes too. This is a traditional food of fishermen but the restaurant substituted mushrooms for the usual seafood.
Mushrooms were hidden under red plum leaves for the next course. The plate was to bring to mind a coral reef with hidden items. The mushrooms were pickled in apple vinegar and the red sauce on the plate was to be mixed in for the full effect. The leaves were really tart and the sauce fruity whereas the mushrooms were mild. Blended all together it worked.
Jibia (cuttlefish), spicy roots and kolof was mixed with oil of mandarin, crème fraîche and roasted seaweed. The squid had a silky texture and the crisp seaweed contributed a good texture to the crème fraîche. This was a fun presentation.
Rock vegetables from Punta de Tralca is a signature dish and presented in layers. There was cactus with lemon juices, salad collected on the beach, spinach collected on the beach, oxalis and crackers with squid ink. This presentation has been on the menu for the longest time. Under each of the different crackers was a different green with varying textures and tastes.
Sea urchin cake was encased in a shell that looked like a rock and presented in dashi broth with an actual rock. Even though red pepper covered the sea urchin it had a fairly strong taste.
“Lisa” fish was cooked in ash; I believe it is in the tuna family. It was wrapped with an inedible avocado leaf and presented with leaves and fronds that were almost nutty. The biggest leaf was quite bitter and covered some shredded greens. The fish was moist and mild but was doused with an incredible butter sauce that really made the dish.
Kombucha as a meat was presented like crudo with the middle part being kombucha dressed with flowers. It tasted like it had cheese on it and was really good when eaten with a crisp cracker. Good flavors all around.
The lamb we saw when we came in was next and it was presented with a vine leaf sandwich of wild apples. The lamb had been cooked for 10 hours and was tender and nice. I wrote down that the red things were radishes but the menu I got says wild apples, so who knows.
Tres leches and skewer of flowers was dribbled with beet sauce. This one was difficult to eat with the crude wooden spoon we were given and so you ended up tipping the bowl to get the flavors.
The bitter plants from Atacama was rose of the year on top of brulee. It looked like a pizza but was caramel like icing was not enough to counter the tartness of the leaves.
They next brought out some cubes of nitrogen infused chocolate that were to be eaten immediately and then you blew smoke out your mouth when you talked, so no pictures. The ice cream sandwich was another mild and not sweet enough dessert. The cold glacier had a nice bit of meringue that helped it satisfy. Chef was nice enough to take us on a tour of the test kitchen.