CHILA is a larger place that offers only a tasting menu, but they do have a vegetarian option for it. The night we were there they also offered an additional caviar option. Wine pairings (8 glasses for about 15 courses) are available and we opted for them this evening. Pacing of the meal was fairly quick and portion control was good. The staff were all very friendly. It is a place with a modern look, bare wood tables set with huge linen napkins and comfortable stuffed arm chairs, and lowered lighting. There is a wonderful view of the city through their windows.
With the menu comes your first bite (in the menu holder), a sunflower seed cracker with a foam of cheese from Argentina. It was nice.
The next set of snacks came in a group. A corn and prawns cake contained amaranth and rice mixed with shrimp and onion for a very good bite. A cold version of Mate kombucha was okay at best. A Friar ball with squid also contained honey, lime foam and cilantro. It was good. A Black pudding and Charqui was a sausage with green apple around llama tartar. It had a musty taste and I’d call it one of the lesser options.
Pear, apple and cheese used a Williams Pear as the vessel and filled it with creamed cheese, pear and apple bits and covered it with grated nuts. It was set on volcanic rock, not to be eaten. It was on the mushy side and I’d call it so-so.
Bread service was a large brioche bun made with cow lard and basted with a meat reduction. It was served with a domestic blue butter. The brioche were made in house and pretty tasty with a nice light, tender interior and savory, flakey outside. The butter was also quite tasty.
Mushrooms, lentils and cabbage had a bit more show to the course. The oyster mushrooms were first brought out and placed under a dome to be steamed in a broth of pine mushroom at the table. They were then removed and plated with lentils, kimchi and a dust of oyster mushroom greens. The lentils were a little al dente but still tasty. The kimchi added a nice bit of spice but for all the effort the mushrooms added little flavor but they did add a good texture. The greens were also good in this nice dish.
Tortellini was stuffed with river fish, onions (leek), black garlic and grapes and accented with octopus. The fish had a strong fishy flavor and the pasta was on the tough side. The black crispy stalks added a nice crisp and the octopus added some texture but overall this one was just okay.
White catch, Cassava, Hazelnuts was made with blond croaker or corvinorubialo. Some fried kale was used to mimic the scales of the skin and that added nice texture. Sea snails or whelks were also in the mix and they added a fun chewiness. More texture was brought out with the chestnuts, hazelnuts and tapioca and some flavor was enhanced by adding saffron to the ingredients. It was a great dish.
Beetroot, guanciale and lamb were presented without explanation for us to taste before explanations. It turned out to be a fried dough of beet leaves with tartar of lamb and lemon purée. They called it ‘leaves of the season’ with cool beets, water and lamb inside and warm guanciale and lamb heart outside. It was different and not sure it was worth all the effort put into making it.
More beets were next with pork tendon on the side, peanuts and a reduction sauce was made from pomegranate juice and beet. The beets were very meaty tasting and there were lots of flavors going on with some textural diversity. It was good.
Dry aged beef and skirt steak were the choices for the next course, both presented with Jerusalem artichoke. The beef was cooked in butter after being dusted with Jerusalem artichoke. A chimichurri sauce of green leaves was next to the purée of artichoke. The skirt steak was amazing. Both cuts were tender and perfectly cooked and really flavorful but the skirt was the hands down flavor favorite. The chimichurri sauce was too herby for me – it covered up the flavor of the beef. The Jerusalem artichoke was nicely caramelized into a ball on top of the purée form, with both being tasty. You got your choice of cuts so we ordered both and split them with the accompaniments being the same on both plates.
A sorbet of watermelon, green apple and liquid nitrogen was in a cone. Some white chocolate of carob lined the bottom of the cone. It came with a lemon cocktail that I didn’t care for but the sorbet was refreshing.
The cheese course was composed of goat and cow cheeses form Argentina. It was served with a sour dough bread, something sweet and nuts. They were good cheeses.
Goat cheese ice cream was covered with slices of quince and a sauce of citrus and quince jelly. It worked and was a pretty item, well crafted and reasonably good.
Dulce de leche ice cream was mixed with banana, coffee gelée, rice and other vegetables in an edible box. It was again well crafted but even more ho hum in flavor than the previous one.
It listed petit fours on the menu but we didn’t get them.