Having done such a splendid job in recommending Les Dix Vins, I decided once more to put my faith in regular guest quester Frances’ recommendations with a lunchtime visit to La Calma.
A seafood specialist, I was keen to see what they had on offer. While Santiago is inland, it’s not far from Chile’s lengthy coastline.
On the ground floor of an light and airy villa, La Calma has a lovely simple elegance to it, both in terms of looks and the menu. I preferred to sit in the cool interior rather than the more popular outdoor terrace. I was brought menus and left to see how my Spanish reading skills were doing.
Things proved pretty straightforward. I wanted oysters and they were easy to find. They came in a portion of nine which felt a good size for my requirements. I followed with a piece of cod from the Juan Fernandez islands. I added a salad of asparagus for seasonal freshness.
First there was bread served with a lightly pickled something, which I suspect from the texture was seaweed. The bread had a satisfying tight, dense crumb. It was a good way to start proceedings.
The oysters were bonnie little things. They had a really enjoyable sweet creaminess to them with the salty tang reserved for the finish. I hoovered them up in record time.
The main was a lesson in simplicity with a beautifully cooked piece of cod served lightly fried to golden crisp on top. The asparagus salad was similarly simple. Good oil, good vinegar and good salt was about all that was in the dressing. It was all excellent.
In terms of drinks, I had crisp extra brut bubbles with the oysters and a knockout sauvignon blanc from Casa Marin with the main course.
So overall, La Calma served me an outstanding lunch. I’m usually not the biggest fan of this level of pared-back simplicity, but at the same time overcomplicating excellent source ingredients never pleases me. La Calma delivered exceptional dishes through extremely accurate and careful preparation of the wonderful Chilean sea larder. I’d strongly recommend it to you when you’re in Santiago.
Blythe scores La Calma
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4.5/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 17/20
I ate: pickled seaweed and bread, oysters, bacalao de Juan Fernandez, asparagus salad
I drank: bubbles, Casa Marin sauvignon blanc
I wore: black linens
Total bill: 39,300 pesos
Address: Nueva Costanera 3832 local 2 – Vitacura, Santiago