Nomad and contemporary
The evolution and movement within the food industry brings about waves of innovation that break with tradition in every way while maintaining due respect for ancestral knowledge. How is this possible? The answer lies in contemporary cuisine, which requires a mix of several factors to maintain a classic stance added to avant-garde style and a hint of regional flavor. This is what Chef Álvaro Reinoso achieves at Elements Restaurant, which recently opened in the valley and that has created a definitive new side to culinary pleasures.
Located in Cumbayá, Elements is fully dedicated to creativity. The menu can only be a part of your taste buds for a short period of time, since every eight months a brand-new menu is launched. This is known as pop-up kitchen which Vogue magazine aptly called this idea an ephemeral restaurant, since restaurants such as Elements are created to be itinerant, not only in a physical but also culinary sense of the word.
Elements will be in Quito for only two years, and every eight months it will change its menu. Álvaro is working to create dishes based on three elements: Earth, Fire, and Water. Each of these elements honors local production, with dishes specific to each season. The Earth element will focus on national food, Fire on grilled options, and Water in seafood delights.
This concept also offers freshness in both its food and its drinks. The restaurant is focused on having fun. Alvaro’s main objective is awakening people’s intellect through his dishes — he wants to make them want to eat with their hands, not only to experience the smells but also the textures. He designs dishes to create an experience that is rugged, fancy, juicy…and silky.
The whole issue doesn’t stop here…creating a pop-up restaurant requires a location that oozes natural and architectural beauty. This is an important factor that is part of the game and the delight that draws people to experience the concept. Elements is an urban proposal with a structure that fuses with the nature that surrounds it.
The surprise factor is the leitmotiv of the diners, where incredible colors are not far behind the amazing food. The chef mentions that Ecuador is a country of light and landscapes that easily make anyone fall in love with it. Being in the middle of the world is beyond advantageous for a restaurant, since the fruits and vegetables available are gorgeous to the eye while invaluable to health. The land is a constant in the chef’s creations, and intense tones are essential to fully enjoy the food and drink that this unique place has to offer.
Alvaro, half Ecuadorian and half Brazilian, is a student of cuisine. He originally chose food technology as a career path, but life and his personal desires – luckily – led him astray, and he found the art of food creation. After finishing school he went to Sao Paulo, to work in one of the city’s most prestigious restaurants. As if by pure magic, there, he was introduced to a chef that took him where many culinary students can only dream: Celler de Can Roca, a Spanish restaurant that has no more and no less than three Michelin Stars, which places it among the very best in the world.
The experience that he gained in one of the world’s most famous restaurants is priceless. Alvaro knows this, and it is the reason he puts everything that he has learned into practice. Tapioca muchines with hot pepper jam; mini white carrot llapingachos with Ambateño sausage; crunchy quinoa curry tortillas with celery jam; four cheese au gratin pepitas; trout crunchies seasoned in walnut cream and lemon caviar; and pork chicharron paired with craft beer are just some of the delicious options on the Earth menu created by this culinary prodigy.
The warm environment is another feature that makes Elements a unique and special place. The environment is frugal yet warm, with a predominant bar, and the interior design lines complement the dispersed and elegant yet rustic furniture in the four different areas created to taste appetizers like babaco ceviche with crispy corn or plantain gnocchi with cheese.
The terrace is a place to step out into the open air, which adds a bit of “cool” to the warm Cumbayá atmosphere. Cocktails like the Secret Garden, served in a steaming trunk, the Jessy Pinkman of Breaking Bad, or Lanister Love from Game of Thrones all provide conversation opportunities for guests. While classic options are not forgotten, your Bloody Mary, for example, comes with a taste of tree tomato, something that you are compelled to embrace if you wish to fully enjoy this culinary experience.