Number 12 on The World’s 50 Best List, Pujol Restaurant houses chic, cool wooden interiors filled with an achingly hip crowd dressed in everything from slick suits, to hipsters wearing shorts and t-shirts with pulled up socks.
Even the water is cool. I make a mental note to take the bottle home to wow my house guests with my unusual selection of niche, expensive fridge items.
Adding to this, some seriously smooth lounge music croons in the background. Pujol would be such a sexy date venue with your new Latin lover.
I’m tickled to discover the secret wifi, something only accessed by typing in the magic word into your wireless network.
It’s a seven course set menu served over 2 hours, although I’m asked about food allergies just in case.
All the fine dining here is bloody good value (by Australian standards) at just over $150 AUD.
Baby corn with Coffee Mayonnaise, Chicana ant powder, Chile costeno
A good strong start to the menu to rouse the palate, the baby corn makes me pass out with desire, while the accompanying coffee mayonnaise has also been dripped onto the corn husks that have been smoked in the fire.
I wonder if I’ll be expelled from the cool kids club if I fish out the husks and lick the sauce off. F*ck it, YOLO.
I comply and regret nothing about my decision.
Upon closer perusal of the menu, I JUST FOUND OUT THERE WAS ANT IN WHAT I ATE ?
HOLYYYYY F*CK I’M A CONVERT! COVER ME IN BUGS, BABY!
Also from my prior experience eating at Michelin star restaurants, it’s best just to not tell me what’s in the dish and serve it up finely chopped/mixed in so I can’t taste it.
Scallop tostada, kimchi mayonnaise, tomatoes
The scallop tostada is fresh and surprisingly zingy with citrus notes.
You’d think it would be dish blistering with acidity but no, the avocado gently reins it all back in with measured creaminess and the tomatoes have been gently nurtured to dull down the usual tartness.
Amberjack ceviche, cacahuazintle juice, fermented cucumber, ginger and lemon reduction
I try the entire concoction wrapped with the tortilla but unfortunately it erases most of the flavours, so I try them both separately to greater satisfaction.
It’s a flawless ceviche as any, with the sourness dulled down to fine dining standards to give more subtle, nuanced flavours. I appreciate the random bobs of corn for texture.
The tortilla shines when not trying to be mixed with the ceviche.
Sometimes you just need a bit of distance to appreciate something ?
Again, this is another dish I’m glad to risk social status for, by potentially lapping every last drop from the bowl, golden retriever-esque.
Eggplant relleno negro, pine nuts, Xnipec
I am told with this dish, that the tortilla is just for the sauce.
Damn it! They saw my previous dish fail. Bless their cotton socks for telling me though ??
Both eggplant and pine nuts are softened to silky perfection. I love the acidity juxtaposed against the earthiness of the sauce.
Grilled octopus, carrots, chintextle
The grilled octopus Chintextle is a salsa made of pasilla pepper and dried shrimp.
At first bite it’s jarringly sweet but then the smokiness of the char and herbs provides differentiation, with a slight tinge of heat that lingers afterward.
Model madre 2501 days, mole nuevo
For the main event at Pujol Restaurant, Mole madre is the signature dish which is continuously cooked for over 2500 days.
There’s a marked difference between the old and new mole – the old has deeper colour and more intense flavour, with lots of heat to it.
We are retired to the garden terrace to finish the last 3 desserts. Oh, so that’s where everyone went…..
Strawberry nicoatole, raspberries, sake kazu is the first offering for dessert – I decide to get stuck into it before it turns into a gooey mess.
The acidity of the dish mutes the sweetness for a dessert that is fresh and fruity.
The lemon, vanilla and almond cake is a winner – the tang is offset by the saccharine feel of the meringue.
I’m charmed by the gold leaf blowing ceremoniously in the wind.
As a final pow-wow, the waiter presents with a flourish a traditional Spanish churro. Sheesh. You can’t tell from the pictures, but this thing is huge.
There’s no option to doggy bag, so like the bad dinner guest I am, I stash it in my purse for later (yes, really).
It’s a looong sitting at Pujol Restaurant, around 3.5 hrs…. which makes the time somewhat languorous.
Everybody in the restaurant is served each course at around the same time which adds to the waiting.
You hear the occasional comrade shouts from the kitchen which adds some roughness to the smooth ambience and provides occasional entertainment while being patient between courses.
You have been warned!
Check out the full YouTube episode here for a full rundown of the ambience and vibe at Pujol.
Pujol restaurant is located at Tennyson 133, Polanco IV Sección, C.P. 11550, CDMX, México.