I love food experiences. Who doesn’t? Especially when there’s a tasting menu that features food with a story, perfectly presented plates, bite after bite of scrumptiously delicious tastes, palate cleansers, and fantastic service.
Peumayen is known as THE best restaurant in Santiago, and one that makes a mission of delivering food as it was prepared and eaten by the indigenous people of Chile. If you’re ever in Santiago, this makes a wonderful dinner date, and an unforgettably rich experience for sure!
Our experience at Peumayen started just after the restaurant opened (they’re only open for dinner), I think we got one of the only three tables without reservations.
Here is our meal, in photo essay form:
There was indoor and “open air” seating – we got lucky to get a table in the open air side. You can see the kitchen while listening to indigenous music.
We were served a warm drink with ulmo honey in a clay cup which sat carefully on the corner of our square stone plates. The chef’s appetizer consisted of potato bread, fried in butter with horse meat.
The menu, which uses lots of indigenous words. The waitress explained each item in the appetizer tasting and all the main courses. Lawa is a quinoa dish made with cream, and snoek is a type of fish.
A diagram in the menu to help with the bread “basket.”
Served on a wooden board, the breads represent cultures geographically, starting with the North on the right, and moving South through Chile as you move left. From right to left: 1. bread served atop quinoa/raw onion with olives on top. 2. flat bread cooked on a hot stone, served with goat horn chile salsa, slight spicy. 3. square bread made of banana, coconut milk, pineapple – representing the people of Easter Island. 4. potato bread, fried in butter. 5. pea dumpling. 6. white bean dumpling. 7. a doughy bread, made of wheat and barley with a drizzle of ulmo honey. 8. potato bread fried in chicharron fat.
Our server recommended we start with the two fried potato breads, as they were hot, and end with the honeyed bread and square bread since they’re sweet. We thought that was a great idea.
We were served fried Chilean potato crisps with a white bean puree as a palate cleanser.
Appetizers for two, from left to right: Salad of black and white sea snails, cuttlefish, razor clams; this was sour and chewy. Hen with grilled mushrooms and onions; delicious. Tongue pate with ulmo honey; it had great flavor and blended well with the sweetness of the honey. Since Jon did not want any, I got to enjoy the whole pate! Smoked cauliflower; you could really taste the earthy smoke flavor. Fried sweetbreads; chewy but well seasoned. These were balanced out nicely by a baked potato underneath. Jon tried them, but did not like the chewy-ness and I got to eat most of them too. Rabbit with azapa olives and a bit of salsa.
Another palate cleanser. It seemed to be a fried pork rind atop avocado and with a tiny dash of goat horn chile on the side. UPDATE: Apparently the stick is actually seaweed! What a great use of this ocean green – wish it was more widely available in this stick form.
Chochoca Quelén, oxtail: Potato and chicharrón bread wrapped around an oxtail which has been cooked for 14 hours. This dish is from the south of Chile.
Chochoca Quelén, oxtail from above. A succulent dish, the oxtail was melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Rabbit with a native spice atop a white bean puree, fried yucca, grilled veggies, and potato. Served with a soup of hen, llama, horse and Chiapeño corn. A hot volcanic rock was on the dish which was then dropped into the soup to heat it; it got pretty steamy! Every bite was bursting with juicy flavor. The fried yucca was crispy and seasoned well too.
Sadly forgot to take a pic of the palate cleanser before the dessert tasting menu, but I think it was a eucalyptus ice served in a square chocolate thimble. The dessert tasting, also for two, is pictured above. Clockwise from the left: banana ice cream with dehydrated pineapple slivers and that square bread crumble; tasted tropical, as you would expect. A toasted wheat ice cream with toasted wheat crumbles; a yummy doughy taste with great texture contrast from the crumbles. A tart with native fruits called lúcuma; it was ok. Brownie crumble in the middle, tasted as delicious as normal brownies do. Chañar, a creamy eggy custard on the left of the brownie, and a chocolate truffle on the right with cacao nibs — very rich and decadent. Finally, not sure what was in the earthenware jar, but it tasted like another custard, much less set, and with lots of the floral ulmo honey!
Cute clay piggie given to me by the waitress for good luck! I looked it up, it is called a “chanchito” and is lucky because it stands despite having only three legs!