June 15, 2021

Zaika

Livingston

A culinary guide to Montevideo, Uruguay

2 min read

Of all the curious things about Uruguay’s food scene, possibly the most peculiar is that regardless of bodies of water marking its eastern, southern and western boundaries, no one eats fish. Or virtually no 1. Mercifully, Montevideo’s Es Mercat restaurant goes against the grain by dedicating itself to seafood.

“This was the initial fish cafe in all of Montevideo,” chef and proprietor Roberto Connio tells me before lunch services. I believe this suggests it was handed down by means of his spouse and children, generations of previous seadogs, refining recipes to the artwork he provides currently. “No, we opened in June 2011, so 9 several years aged,” he replies, sipping an espresso. “Now there are some other restaurants selling some fish dishes, but if you’re serious about it, then we’re amount just one.”

Roberto clarifies that in the wake of the 2nd Globe War, persons pushed further into Uruguay’s interior, acquiring a lot more of the land for agriculture. The primary merchandise men and women preferred was leather-based, so cattle farms grew speedily, filling the inexpensive land readily available outside of the capital. Uruguayans also required the beef, of study course ironically, though, it was practically a by-solution of the leather field.

As the decades rolled by, the quality of Uruguayan beef grew to rival that of its gigantic neighbours: Argentina to the south and Brazil to the north. Its men and women continued to glance away from the sea and, despite all that shoreline, the locals seemed to fail to remember about seafood. 

Not that Roberto thinks his compatriots lack creativity. “They’re pretty loyal — if they locate somewhere they like, they’ll go back every solitary working day.” All of which is to say, it is a daring engage in for him to concentrate so seriously on the ocean. 

Es Mercat was originally opened, like so several establishments in Montevideo, as a ‘resto-bar’, focusing largely on beverages, with food items introduced pretty much as an afterthought. These times, the cellar stays superb, but the food has come to the fore. 

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