Chef Enrique Olvera
Chef de Cuisine Alex Bremont
#20 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2017
Visited: June 2nd, 2017 – Lunch Service
Helmed by one of the greatest chefs in one of the best food capitals in the world, Pujol is a restaurant that embodies the purity of ingredients and flavours that are deeply rooted with Mexican traditions. The restaurant opened its doors back in 2000 under the leadership of Chef Enrique Olvera who has rightfully placed Mexico City and Mexican cuisine on the culinary world map. Chef Enrique is one of the pioneers of elevating and modernising Mexican cuisine. Eating at Pujol, it was evident that the food blissfully evoked the chef’s soul, his memories, and his Mexican identity.
After experiencing the Omakase of Tacos at Pujol, the husband and I excitedly returned four days later to immerse our appetites with the Tasting Menu.
The restaurant is located in the beautiful neighbourhood of Polanco. The patio welcomed us with a charming wooden pergola over trees, greeneries, and the herb garden. Molacajetes nesting colourful Mexican flowers adorned the wooden benches and tables. It was a place of respite in the middle of the bustling and gigantic metropolis of Mexico City.
Inside The Restaurant
Upon entering the restaurant, we were instantly captivated and soothed with the calming aesthetics of the place. The design is influenced by mid-century modern designs, clean lines and minimalism. The space highlights the elements of the natural world with rooms that effortlessly brings in daylight and a tree in a rock garden as the focal point of the dining room.
The decor also features a marriage between traditional and modern elements. The beautiful wooden grain on the tables and chairs perfectly complements the gray undertones of the walls and concrete floors. The lighting on a wall, reminiscent of the solar eclipse, is another component of the minimalist decor of the restaurant.
Our experience at Pujol started with “Botanas” or snacks inspired by the vibrant street foods of Mexico.
Mole Madre – 1294 Days
The eponymous Mole dish, that in my humble opinion, solidified Pujol’s status within the world of gastronomy. The creation of the “Mole Madre” sauce is similar with the “Solera” style of aging Sherry Wine where a fraction of the newest vintage is added to the barrel containing the blend of every vintages since the “Solera” was started, ensuring consistency and complexity of flavours.
At Pujol, the “Mole Madre” or old mole sauce that has been cooking and reheating on the stove in what seems like forever, is fed daily with the “Mole Nuevo” or new mole sauce that they create everyday. This method results in a Mole that takes the essences of both the old and new and intertwines the flavours and their complexities into one single entity. The flavours become more harmonious the longer they spend together, and at the same time the flavours change unpredictably on a daily basis.
At the end of our meal, our host Tania offered to take us back to the kitchen for a tour and to meet the rest of the team. We also met Alex Bremont, the Chef de Cuisine at Pujol. Upon entering the kitchen, we were welcomed with a sea of smiles from the energetic and passionate bunch of people.
I jokingly told the staff that I was about to grab the pot full of Mole Madre and run away with it. It was such a treat seeing the team and the group of chefs in action as they exercise their talents under the guidance of Chef Enrique and Chef Alex. The comal station was my favourite. It is where they cook and toast the freshly made tortillas filling the air with all the lovely aromas of the corn and Hoja Santa.
Our first time at Pujol was to experience the Omakase of Tacos. We returned four days later to experience the fantastic tasting menu. Both experiences were very different yet equally spectacular as it exposed us to the diverse regions and cuisines of México. The best part of it all, a handful of the friendly staff remembered us from our first visit and welcomed us like family. We even got hugs from our favourite host, Celi!
The service we have received from the friendly staff was exceptional. Special mention goes to our other favourite host, Tania, who took really good care of us. She took time to answer my many food questions and explained the dishes in great detail which absolutely helped me write this blog.
Pujol has become an institution for enriching, expanding and modernising Mexican cuisine. The food possesses elements of comfort, excitement and warmth that will satisfy one’s appetite and soul. What I appreciate about Pujol is that they focus on the most fundamental part of cooking – the flavour. Chef Enrique knows his flavours and delivers it effortlessly through his food. Every dish encompassed a complexity of layering and juxtaposing flavours together, a pure feast for the taste buds.
I was fortunate enough to meet Chef Enrique during our first visit to Pujol. Upon returning for our second visit four days later, the Chef was in New York. Although the Chef was away, he left the kitchen to the very capable hands of Chef de Cuisine Alex Bremont who delivered food that was tasteful and exquisite.
To team Pujol, thank you very much for the warm hospitality you showed us twice. We cannot wait to come back, hopefully soon!