Brainworks: Coffee House En Vogue

Passers-by glance through the glossy window of Brainworks and see a funky, retro furniture shop. Bright colors and a mix of shapes.

But look again--people sitting, glamorous cakes and tasty waiters! Brainworks, also, is a bustling gourmet café.

Santiago Chile Review: Brainworks
Photo by Jason C. Hickerson

Located in Santiago’s popular Bellas Artes arts district, this trendy cafe offers not only an extensive menu in food and beverages, but artsy furniture as well. The idea is brilliant: Customers can browse through modern furniture and test the comfort of the products while they sample Brainworks’ healthy menu.

Santiago Chile Review: Brainworks
Photo by Jason C. Hickerson

Select a vibrant red chair to enjoy a natural fruit juice in one of many flavors (CP$1,350 to $1,850, or US$2.10 to $2.90) with a friend, or read in the comfort of a '70s green velvet sofa. Any piece of furniture that takes your fancy, go to it, order and do as you please.

Coffee connoisseurs will be in heaven with Brainworks’ choice of premium quality coffee. Choose from a simple, dark yet full-bodied espresso (CP$1,100) to a more complex concoction of a mint-frosted cappuccino (CP$1,950). I tried the amaretto frappucino (CP$1,950), with contrasting layers of strong hot espresso, cooling milk and amaretto essence topped with chocolate sprinkles. The stout body and thick, creamy consistency reach the tangy core of pure coffee essence – everything I love in a coffee. However, make sure you ask for no ice, as I discovered that it slightly dilutes the taste.

For all the tea-lovers out there, you will not be disappointed with the diverse selection, both hot and icy. Be it a traditional smooth, sweet ceylon tea, a soft, herby and fragrant white tea or a bittersweet, smoky green tea, all are served in a homely teapot (CP$900 to $1,500).

Santiago Chile Review: Brainworks
Photo by Jason C. Hickerson

Brainworks emphasizes good portions of fresh, innovative food. Generous organic salads (CP$3,400), gourmet sandwiches (CP$1,200 to $2,950) and oversized, puffy quiches (CP$4,500) are available. Extravagant ice cream dishes and cheesecakes are served for dessert. The classy cakes (CP$1,700) are typically Chilean, all smothered with manjar. The Naploeón has layers of moist cake covered in caramel, filled with manjar and almonds. Eating it was a nutty, foxy sugar rush!

The ambiance is open and relaxing. People watch, converse, wi-fi or just sit and admire the array of quirky furniture surrounding them: blow-up lampshades, swinging egg chairs, dazzling lights, classy wallpaper and twinkling tables. If anything takes your fancy, head downstairs to the shop for more details.

Brainworks is situated amidst a row of flurrying cafes along José Miguel de la Barra. Considering the surrounding competition, I was surprised at the prices, which are a little steep--yet worth it for quality food, drinks and comfort.

Brainworks Diseño Integrado
Bellas Artes
José Miguel de la Barra 454
Metro to Bellas Artes
+56 (2) 633 92 18

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