Somewhere far, far away, hanging off the end of the Chilean Lake District, in a wooded stretch of coastline near the far end of the island of Chiloe, there’s an upside down boat. The wooden structure was built purposely upside down, somewhat like the island’s UNESCO world heritage wood shingle churches, which were also modeled after boats turned on their heads. It’s at least two hours from anywhere. In this boat is Espejo de Luna, aka Lef, a restobar and café serving some of the most resourceful food in Chile.
I ask my waitress, who would later show me around the wooded property that includes a set of luxury cabins, how this place, which is till virtually unknown, came to be. It is the result of one couple’s crazy dream, she said. It’s not hard to believe. Even the inside, warmed by a fireplace, resembles a boat.
The menu at Espejo de Luna sources from local Chilote farmers and fishermen and turns the ingredients into contemporary plates that are paired with their lovely Chilean wine list or collection of Chilean microbrews. Salmon, hake, lamb, duck, and other wonderfully Chilote proteins dominate the menu. Tasting the King crab ceviche in this specific location, with the snow capped peak of Corcovado looming off in the distance on the mainland, might make it the best king crab that could ever be prepared. They don’t shy away from creativity either. Dessert was made of fruity nalca (a giant shore plant) stalk and corn flakes over ice cream.
Espejo de Luna/Lef
On the road from Chonchi to QueilenAltuy, Chiloe
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.