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Fábula, Santiado de Chile Restaurant


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I'm Carlos García, chef/owner of Restaurante Fábula. We opened up about a year ago (may '07) and we've received very favourable reviews by the local press. I was named Chef of the year (2007) by user-powered culinary website La Buena Vida. Also, El Mercurio, Chile's largest newspaper, named Fabula the third best new restaurant of the year. Also Condé Nast Traveller magazine picked us as one of two Santiago restaurants for their 2007 hot list.

But now we want to expand our press coverage. This is why I turn to you, my fellow eGulleters. If you are in my area, please stop by to try some of my food. And if you’re a journalist travelling to Santiago, you might want to do a piece on Fabula and other interesting restaurants owned by young chefs like myself –I’m 33-. I can give you a short list: Sukalde (2007’s chef of the year Matías Palomo), Mercat (The other restaurant featured in Condé Nast, with his chef Gianfranco Vanella), Boragó (The best new restaurant in Santiago, owned by chef Rodolfo Guzmán), Cienfuegos (Chef Benjamín Cienfuegos) and Adra (The restaurant at the Ritz Carlton headed by Tomás Olivera).

I know a couple of our members have already visited me, now I look forward to seeing some more of you. I know we are a part of an interesting movement in the new southern frontier. I’m a CIA graduate and most of us have worked in New York or Spain; some with chefs like Adriá, Aduriz or Boloud.

So, c´mon down! We have excellent wines in Chile, a refreshingly new array of exciting microbreweries and our good food. You can get a hold of me through eGullet or:

Carlos García

Chef Owner

Restaurante Fábula

Marín 0285, Providencia

Santiago, Chile

carlos@restaurantefabula.cl

(56 – 2) 222 3016

edited to ask if this is the right place for this topic. It might have worked better in the "dinning" sub-topic. I won't mind if it's moved there

Edited by godito (log)

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Here's a few pictures from Fábula. All of them were taken by myself. Some with time on my hands and some within the rush of service. Enjoy

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This is our shrimp appetizer. It has shrimp cooked in four ways: sautéed with herbs, smoked in a summer roll, breaded and in bisque.

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I don't know the name of the fish in english, but it's probably similar as the spanish Róbalo. Here, we see it with a lentil and smoked goat cheese ragout and a cilantro sauce.

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I've made this dish several times now. I thought about it a while back..., maybe a couple of years before opening Fabula, but only here I've had a real chance of executing it here (you know, full creative control). This is a crab cake and a crab ravioli with leek foam

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Sweetbread with date chutney and fave bean purée

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This picture might have actually been taken by my friend the journalist Mariana Martinez using my camera. It's a first draft of a dish that later became a staple in our menu for last fall. It's a duck magret with "congris" risotto and orange peel mermelade (congris rice is the cuban rice with black beans)

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We have a varied menu with highers hints of fish and seafood, but some of our best sellers have been beef. Here we have a ribeye with quince and camote (a very colorful type of sweet potato).

I will post more pictures soon. We have a new menu, but I haven't taken any pictures yet.

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Looks and sounds wonderful, Carlos. I would love to get down to Chile someday and when I do, Fábula will be on my list of restaurants to try!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

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Hi Carlos. what a shame. I was born in Chile and had not been back since we moved to NY when I was five. I spend the month of may traveling around Chile trying to get a handle on the cuisine from my homeland. I went to a couple restaurants in Santiago but unfortunately had not heard of yours. I found that the food in restaurant in general lacked terroir but there was a lot of innovation going on.

I think I might be returning in the winter (your summer) and would love to eat at your restaurant. Who knows maybe even watch you guys cook for a while.

How is the clientele in Santiago? From what my parents tell me meat is really seen as a more "value for your dollar" and luxurious than it is in the states. Maybe that's the reason for your high beef sales.

I really loved the seafood out there I'm sure you guys have a blast with that and all the great produce

My food and ideas CookDiegoCook

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Hi Carlos.  what a shame.  I was born in Chile and had not been back since we moved to NY when I was five.  I spend the month of may traveling around Chile trying to get a handle on the cuisine from my homeland.  I went to a couple restaurants in Santiago but unfortunately had not heard of yours.  I found that the food  in restaurant in general lacked terroir but there was a lot of innovation going on. 

I think I might be returning in the winter (your summer) and would love to eat at your restaurant.  Who knows maybe even watch you guys cook for a while.

How is the clientele in Santiago?  From what my parents tell me meat is really seen as a more "value for your dollar" and luxurious than it is in the states.  Maybe that's the reason for your high beef sales.

I really loved the seafood out there I'm sure you guys have a blast with that and all the great produce

That is a shame! and you're right, restaurants generally lack terroir. This is because, unlike Perú, Mexico or many other latin american countries (including my native Bolivia), Chile hasn't kept a food identity through the ages. So, finding classical chilean cuisine with which to work with has been difficult. What do we do, then? Well, like you suggested, we have fun working with the great produce available. Chilean cuisine is one of products, not recipes.

My restaurant, as with many others that I mentioned in my post above, is trying to rescue local ingredients and prepearing them in ways that are not usually presented in chilean homes or restaurants. In other words, we play with our food!

Chile is, in general, a beef eating country (which is weird when you look into its geography) but we keep a higher variety of fish and seafood because 1. it's cooler to work with (imo) and 2. because this is what tourists really want to eat.

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Hi Carlos.  what a shame.  I was born in Chile and had not been back since we moved to NY when I was five.  I spend the month of may traveling around Chile trying to get a handle on the cuisine from my homeland.  I went to a couple restaurants in Santiago but unfortunately had not heard of yours.  I found that the food  in restaurant in general lacked terroir but there was a lot of innovation going on. 

I think I might be returning in the winter (your summer) and would love to eat at your restaurant.  Who knows maybe even watch you guys cook for a while.

How is the clientele in Santiago?  From what my parents tell me meat is really seen as a more "value for your dollar" and luxurious than it is in the states.  Maybe that's the reason for your high beef sales.

I really loved the seafood out there I'm sure you guys have a blast with that and all the great produce

That is a shame! and you're right, restaurants generally lack terroir. This is because, unlike Perú, Mexico or many other latin american countries (including my native Bolivia), Chile hasn't kept a food identity through the ages. So, finding classical chilean cuisine with which to work with has been difficult. What do we do, then? Well, like you suggested, we have fun working with the great produce available. Chilean cuisine is one of products, not recipes.

My restaurant, as with many others that I mentioned in my post above, is trying to rescue local ingredients and prepearing them in ways that are not usually presented in chilean homes or restaurants. In other words, we play with our food!

Chile is, in general, a beef eating country (which is weird when you look into its geography) but we keep a higher variety of fish and seafood because 1. it's cooler to work with (imo) and 2. because this is what tourists really want to eat.

Very interesting, Carlos. One of the things that has kept Chile from being higher on my list of desirable travel locations has been the relative lack of a culinary identity. From what I can see, it is a beautiful country. However, if there is inspired cooking going on along with quality ingredients, that may be a reason to move it higher on my list. What ingredients are there in Chile, that would not necessarily be found in a global marketplace of at least equal quality?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Very interesting, Carlos. One of the things that has kept Chile from being higher on my list of desirable travel locations has been the relative lack of a culinary identity. From what I can see, it is a beautiful country. However, if there is inspired cooking going on along with quality ingredients, that may be a reason to move it higher on my list. What ingredients are there in Chile, that would not necessarily be found in a global marketplace of at least equal quality?

Doc, I could write a whole topic on the variety of ingredients from Chile, but I will just point out a few:

1. Seafood. 2500 miles of coast in this very narrow country. I'm not going to say unique, but we do find seafood like "machas", which kind of look like shorter-wider-more red razor clams. Locos, which are a variety of abalone, sea urchin and other iodine-tasting seafood.

2. The many climates. The long strip of land goes from south to north, so that guarantees a lot of different micro-climates. We go from the most arid dessert in the world at the north of Chile to very moist forests, full of berries and mushrooms in the south. The central valley is similar to that in California, so it's rich in produce.

3. Special preparations with local ingredients. They make sweet crackers in the north, with some kind of mango jam. The mango comes from the oasis found in the middle of the dessert. In the south they make garlic paste. We also have chuchoca, which is kind of like... polenta, only rougher. And also harina tostada, or toasted flour, which is usually eaten with fruit (they sprinkle it over watermelon). Finally, there is merken, which is a smoked chilli powder available in many different qualities.

Now, you're right. It's hard to sell Chile as a country with deep culinary identity. And in general, because it is a loooong narrow country, to find some recognizable cultural identity, one would have to travel to the deep south. Santiago is a very cosmopolitan city, not too different from many other in south america (except, perhaps, a little bit cleaner and far more organized) So I can't promise that you'll find food that is regional and exclusive to chile (I mean, you can, but you have to be well guided), What I can promise, whta we do here at Fabula and what my collegues are doing, is that we feature local products (most times trying to rescue ones that are not so common but which grow well in Chile like celeriac or jerusalem artichoke) and do interesting and flavorlul cuisines. Maybe we are the ones to eventually give Chile an identity.

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Here's some more pictures I took during service last week.

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This how the ranges looked right before we fired the main courses on our last four-top.

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I know this picture is a little blury. This is our vidriola (a local fish similar to albacore but milder tasting) with "marbled" potato purée (which are differently colored potatoes from the island of Chiloé whipped sepparately and roughly put together to keep the appearance of marble) and bolivian inspired scrambled eggs with bacon and peas. Tastes like home!

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Another blury one. Sorry. This one is our braised lamb shank with polenta in two textures and a wine-chocolate reduction. I really like this dish. A customer on saturday told me it was the best lamb shank he had eaten in Santiago. It's not that hard when you start with great raw materials and apply techniques correctly.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I had the pleasure of eating at Fabula in March. Carlos and his team made my partner and I a great meal. Highlight of the night was a stuffed squid (stuffed with creamy mushrooms I think). The restaurant is beautiful and we had some very nice wines.

Carlos then went out for a couple beers with us after dinner. He offered us some insight into Chilean cuisine (he touched on a few points in an above post).

This post has been a long time coming, but I haven't been in this forum much lately.

Here are a few photos

Thanks again Carlos. You helped get our trip off to a great start!

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May I ask if you have a lot of vegetarian options?  Not seafood, but just vegetarian.  I have a friend who will be moving to Santiago in January, and I'm sure she'd be interested in some restaurant possibilities!

I have a small menu, only 4 or 5 starters, no more than 8 main courses and 4 desserts. I always have at least one vegetarian appetizer and one vegetarian man course, so there is that option. However, there is a few places with wider vegetarian alternatives, includig the Magestic, which serves great indian cuisine (and is, of course, mostly vegetarian).

I can go into detail in other options, but I haven't gone out to many restaurants lately, so I don't even know if thy are still open.

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I had the pleasure of eating at Fabula in March. Carlos and his team made my partner and I a great meal. Highlight of the night was a stuffed squid (stuffed with creamy mushrooms I think). The restaurant is beautiful and we had some very nice wines.

Carlos then went out for a couple beers with us after dinner. He offered us some insight into Chilean cuisine (he touched on a few points in an above post).

This post has been a long time coming, but I haven't been in this forum much lately.

Here are a few photos

Thanks again Carlos. You helped get our trip off to a great start!

Taryn, thank you for posting the pictures. They look great. I´m glad you enjoyed your visit. If I remember correctly, the squid was, indeed, stuffed with mushrooms. U had forgoten about that dish. I think I'll put it back on rotation for a new tasting menu.

Cheers!

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