CULTURE NATIONAL

Savoring Santiago: Cafetería Soberbia

Chile Today’s Savoring Santiago series highlights the city’s top restaurants, cafés, and bars. Discover farm-to-fork eateries, underground resto-bars, luxury dining experiences, and hidden culinary gems. Each article offers the owner’s insight, along with their recommendations for must-try menu items. 

Tucked away in a lush Ñuñoa neighborhood exists one of Santiago’s most unique bistros. Chef Andrés Plaza tends to his kitchen daily, dedicating his time to experimenting with flavors and ingredients native to Chile. 

Well worth the trip to Ñuñoa, Cafetería Soberbia offers specialty coffees and dishes otherwise unavailable in the Metropolitan Region. Each detail is meticulously planned, from color to taste to texture. Perhaps the most unique aspect of Plaza’s dishes is the commitment to incorporating Chilean-native ingredients in each dish and beverage. 

Flavors of Southern Chile’s rugged landscape mix delightfully with refreshing flavors of the sea and rich flavors of the land. Take, for example, the Calafate Arándano Espresso, one of the cafe’s most popular drinks. Bright Calafate berries burst with flavor and dance playfully with palm honey, slightly tart cream, and espresso. 

Guests may enjoy the artful presentation of Plaza’s food as much as the uniqueness of taste and obvious quality. Complete with a cozy, open-air setting, Cafetería Soberbia creates a relaxing ambiance with inviting lighting and a sanctuary of trees. 

Chef Plaza shares his inspiration, culinary journey, and how his restaurant pivoted during the social uprising and a pandemic. 

Also read:

Savoring Santiago: La Madriguera Café 

How did you get started in the restaurant business? Tell us a little about your life.

I’ve loved the kitchen ever since I was a little kid, mainly because I wanted to lighten my mom’s burden at home after she returned from work.

I started in this field 16 years ago, when I began working as a steward. I fell even more in love with the profession during this time, leading me to study national and international cuisine. This experience allowed me to find new opportunities in restaurants and hotels, which in turn granted me opportunities to grow. This journey culminated when I was named chef at  22 years old. Throughout the years, I perfected every aspect of my career, even as an instructor, all so that one day I could fulfill my dream of opening a specialty bistro and café.

How would you describe Cafetería Soberbia’s food and atmosphere?

We seek to set the trend of unique and daring dishes that break the norm while looking for innovation in flavors and presentations, thus creating a remarkable gastronomical experience for our guests.

Speaking to our atmosphere, the dining experience is primordial. As a result, we based ourselves on the pillars of closeness and warmth. We are committed to constantly improving our service, through a variety of learning and training methods.

Photo: Alisha Lubben / Chile Today

What inspires your dishes and beverages?

My mother is my primary inspiration due to her passion for cooking, and I try to put those feelings into everything I create.

When expressing my vision for a dish, I focus on innovation and creating a captivating experience that enhances the senses. My team and I also study and utilize the endemic and untamed products of our country. We work directly with producers, acquiring raw materials from the land while reworking traditional Chilean recipes. For example, we each menu item with coffee to demonstrate the versatility of a single ingredient. Additionally, we are highly dedicated to reducing food waste.

When did you establish Cafetería Soberbia? What challenges have you overcome?

This project began in July 2019; however, our team began researching for about a year before officially opening in the center of Santiago. Then, due to the social uprising and the Covid pandemic, we decided to change locations to the municipality of Ñuñoa, which gave us a fresh start. 

Overcoming the crises strengthened our resolve to push our culinary project forward. The greatest challenge has been introducing the concept of specialty coffee to our customers while captivating them with our take on Chilean cuisine. We also consistently work to maintain our status of being pioneers in specialty and molecular coffee shops and continue creating exclusive experiences to inspire innovation in our industry.

Do you organize culinary events? Do you offer private dinners?

We offer clandestine dinners, which seek to create an intimate atmosphere so that our guests feel at home while also sharing the experience with others. These events are accompanied by carefully designed signature dishes – with love being the essential ingredient.

What do you have planned for 2022?

We are focused on conceiving fresh dishes with a variety of characteristics and themes. We yearn to diversify experiences with new flavors and surprising concepts.

What are the three drinks and dishes that you recommend the most?

That is a complex answer since I consider all of our recipes to be delicious and unique. Soon we will renovate our menu for the upcoming seasons. First, however, I would start with our signature coffees.

Pasoto (Coffee Garden with Five Senses)

The limited-edition Aperol coffee snow. A mix of molecular cuisine and maceration with two types of cold brew.

This is my favorite recipe since it unleashes all of the senses and comprises four recipes in one.

As for dishes, I recommend the Warm Tuna Tartar (Tártar Tibio de Atún), marinated with teriyaki coffee.

It’s made with smoked loin of Angus, coffee, organic Carmenere, and Calafate wine reduction, accompanied by mashed corn confectionery with merkén and coffee.

I also recommend our salmon dish made with honey, café pesto of cilantro, pil pil coffee oil, accompanied by black bean peas or risotto with sauvignon blanc and cold coffee filter.

 

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