Mexican gastronomy has been weighed down for decades by the Tex-Mex style of cooking. So it came as a surprise for many here when its true authenticity was revealed, so much so that the restaurant with the second longest waiting list is Mexican - Punto MX - which opened in Madrid a year ago.
Customers must wait two months to taste the cuisine of Punto MX chef Roberto Ruiz, who in one year has won over critics and diners with dishes unprecedented in Europe like escamoles - ant eggs considered the Mexican caviar - which he brings from a cooperative in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo.
"Mexican cuisine has a lot to offer," Ruiz said in an interview with Efe, attributing his success to "doing original things that are different from what you usually get." For that reason, his widely praised guacamole is prepared in a stone mortar at the diner's table, and the tortillas of organic maize are handmade by his wife fresh every day.
His menu is a "little gastronomic tour of Mexico" that has attracted 42,350 customers in one year, despite the fact that the restaurant holds a mere 50 people. It does, however, have a bar that offers a shorter version of his menu.
"We have set a precedent. We do authentic things and we present dishes totally unknown to many Spaniards, like grilled marrow, grasshoppers, "zarandeado" fish from Sinaloa that is filleted with the bones in, and the ant-egg escamoles," he said.
Ruiz is convinced that Tex-Mex cooking has done "damage" to real Mexican cooking, because it has confused the public even though "it has nothing to do with it." To make clear his defense of the authentic, on the establishment's coasters is printed "No nachos, no manna."
The great Spanish chefs also begin to dally with traditional Mexican cuisine, which was included on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2010, and even Albert Adria is about to open a Mexican restaurant in Barcelona. EFE