Taste the arts at Interludio

For those who like mixing up their dinner with a bit of cultural digestion, the restobar-cum-art gallery Interludio could be just the place. Located over two floors of minimal chic at the crux of Santiago’s hipster scene, the conjuncture of Lastarría and Bellas Artes, Interludio serves up colorful contemporary dishes, potent cocktails and regular live music, theatre, literary events and exhibitions providing a look at the city’s independent artistic talent.

Basement Lounge (photo by Marianne Fuentealba)
Basement Lounge (photo by Marianne Fuentealba)

Since opening its doors in March 2011, the restaurant has made a name for itself thanks to its focus on the arts and the innovative food. Its three areas give off a sort of cool refinement that works nicely with the voguish ambience of its art exhibits and performances. The black floors lead to the stylish nakedness of concrete walls, whose sparseness is offset by paintings or montages from featured local artists, and the couches and armchairs of the basement smokers’ lounge offer a nice mellow spot to settle back for a long glass of something alcoholic or enjoy the aftereffects of a meal. There are also tables out in the street which are great for watching the Bellas Artes jet set strut their stuff if you don’t mind the buses roaring by just a few feet away.

Electric piano (photo by Marianne Fuentealba)
Electric piano (photo by Marianne Fuentealba)

It is in the downstairs where a lot of the theatre and music goes on, the lounge’s mellow layout, low ceilings and bare walls providing intimacy and excellent acoustics, and Interludio has played host to a nice range of interesting performances. Among these was a season of teatro gabinetes (cabinet theatre), in which a small basement cubicle is transformed into a mini-theatre that seats one person for a ten minute production featuring a single actor. Music comes in the form of Wednesday night jazz, las sesiónes inter-ludicas (the Interludio Sessions), which aim to give a platform to local emerging talent, and low key gigs from more established musicians.

<em>Ravioles Negros</em> (photo by Marianne Fuentealba)
Ravioles Negros (photo by Marianne Fuentealba)

But in spite of the cultural character of Interludio, it’s really the food and drink that give a place its name and keep people coming back. Fortunately, the food here is innovative and zesty, a fusing of various influences that merge in intriguing new dishes and flavors which nicely compliment the artistic ambience of the surroundings. Good quality ingredients and dexterous culinary touches result in lovingly-crafted plates of king prawn and mushroom in black raviolis, covered with a rich saffron sauce, or res beef fillet in green mustard sauce, while vegetarian options include a thick and succulent, yet markedly fresh, mushroom risotto or courgette and sage gnocchi in creamy parmesan. There is also a good selection of starters (including ceviche, carpaccio, or roast camembert), and salads or sandwiches for those lesser moments.

Sparkling & Fruity (photo by Marianne Fuentealba)
Sparkling & Fruity (photo by Marianne Fuentealba)

If indulgence is your thing, there is nothing on earth (that I’ve ever seen anyway) quite like the extraordinary sopa de chocolate, a bowl of molten liquid chocolate of pure volcanic force. Seething and oozing like a tropical chocolate swamp, this is not recommended for the faint-hearted or the weak. Or those on diets. For everyone else, it has to be seen, and tried, to be believed. But best to share one between two of you.

The drinks menu includes the dolce vita (champagne, drambuie and orange juice), the smashing pumpkin (the same but with vodka instead of drambuie), and sparkling apple, strawberry or albahaca. If that’s all a bit flamboyant for you, there are plenty of excellent beers and wines, as well as fresh juices for kids, drivers and the repenting.

All in all, this is a very decent spot for an evening out, particularly when there’s live music, and the stylish and artsy outlook sets it apart from the standard order-eat-pay model of most other places. Combined with excellent food, Interludio is definitely worth a look next time you’re after a good cocktail or something a bit more stimulating for the senses.

Interludio
Merced 316
Metro Bellas Artes
Tel. (02) 638 7203
Follow what's happening at Interludio on its Facebook page.

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