Without a doubt the best meal I had in South America was dinner at Bocanariz, in the cultural Lastarria barrio of Santiago. Bocanariz offers a list of exclusively Chilean wines and very special food, with the menu cleverly categorised by flavour. And it has a funny name - mouth nose.
WARNING do not read on if you are hungry
We were drinking their 2013 Viognier all night, silky smooth and aromatic. But they have a very tempting five mini glass tasting menu.
The food is perfect for sharing, and just as well, because I could never have settled on one dish. First were the papas bravas al estilo bocanariz. Rather than the standard sloppy, oily pile of potatoes it was a line up of crispy bursts of warm and rich spicing, fresh with chilli and tomato and a full kick of garlic.
(Patatas bravas Bocanariz style)
The cuchara de morcilla grillada con mermelada de piña-mango y chip de betarraga was sensational. The velvet rich black pudding and beetroot crisp matched perfectly by tangy, sweet tropical jam. The spoonful disappeared instantly.
(Grilled black pudding spoon with pineapple-mango jam and beetroot crisp)
Ensalada de pera y queso azul. The combination was left simple and refined, allowing the classic combinations to speak for themselves. Fresh, sweet and creamy with a final tang.
(Pear and blue cheese salad)
Asado de tiro en vino tinto con puré de papa camote y escamas de cebolla frita, it was almost too beautiful to eat. The delicate potpourri of sweet onion and rose crisps blended with the puréed sweet potato and deep red wine. The meat melted in every bite.
(Shirt ribs in red wine with sweet potato purée and fried onion)
Conejo en salsa de mostaza antigua con puré de queso manchego, chalotas asadas y betarraga glaseada. The plate was phenomenal. The slight rich game taste of the rabbit and beetroot was wrapped in the silky manchego mash and peppy mustard sauce, all with a sweet edge from the crimson glaze and caramelised shallots.
(Rabbit with mustard sauce with manchego mash, grilled shallots and a beetroot glaze)
Tortellini de zapallo camote y jengibre en salsa de pimentones asados. This was a warming and rich bowl of autumnal tortellini - pumpkin, ginger and earthy spicing, finished with a crunch of sunflower seeds.
(Pumpkin and ginger tortellini with grilled pepper sauce)
Cheesecake y trufas de chocolate blanco, maracúya y crema inglesa de albahaca. Deconstructed cheesecakes are normally a bit silly and over thought out, but this was a triumph. The white truffles were filled with a twist of cream cheese, their sweetness calmed by the passion fruit ice cream. The basil creme anglaise was aromatic and ingenious.
(Cheesecake with white chocolate truffles, passionfruit and basil creme anglaise)
The venue is intimate with candlelight and various little dining rooms leading off each other, as well as a lively bar. Come for a couple of plates as tapas, a few glasses of wine, or if you're me, an absolute feast.
I am an amateur cook blogging about the food I eat and cook, and my travels along the way.