Using Mexico City as our base to come and go between Cuba and Costa Rica meant we had plenty of opportunities to indulge in everything the City had to offer, which included spending a fair bit of time in Polanco’s foodie institutions. ‘Well you simply must try Dulce Patria’ seemed to be the resounding opinion of everyone in the know we got recommendations from, but the problem with wanting to eat in the City’s hottest restaurant was the need to battle it out with lots of other people who also wanted to eat in the City’s hottest restaurant for a reservation.
I took this on as a personal challenge, and over the course of three weeks became obsessed with securing a table here. It all came down to the very last day of our Central America trip. After trying multiple times to get a reservation, I was delighted when the concierge finally came through for us (yet again), and managed to secure a lunch seating.
It’s hard to objectively review the restaurant, as it’s so very different from any experience we had on this trip. Located in the high-end Las Alcobas Hotel, Dulce Patria is the brainchild of celebrated chef Martha Ortiz, who’s created a very polished and aesthetically pleasing dining room consisting of two floors. This was power lunching at its finest, but once we’d settled down and began navigating the Spanish menu I was a little flummoxed by what to order, or how to decipher each course. Between our passable language skills and the waiter’s limited English, we managed to cobble together an understanding of the menu, but in hindsight, I think you either needed a local to help you appreciate the experimental nature of the dishes, or have a basic knowledge of Mexican cuisine. Dishes were elaborately presented, however the flavours tended to vacillate between being overpowering (a fussy trio of tacos and the duck with punchy mole for example) or bland (empanadas that could have come from anywhere). Even the generous servings of mezcal couldn’t save the afternoon.
This was a frustrating experience consisting of a highly anticipated meal that fell short of our expectations because it just felt like too much hard work in the end. I also put our discontent down to an inability to order the right dishes. I really wanted Dulce Patria to leave its mark among all the fantastic dining experiences we’d had in Mexico City, and it accomplished this but for the wrong reasons. We left on such a low note that I wished we’d just ignored the hype and gone back to the excellent Jaso down the road.