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After 17 years at Calle Francisco Petrarca 254 in Mexico City’s Polanco district, chef Enrique Olvera’s iconic restaurant Pujol moved a little more than a kilometer away to a new location that has been secretly being built for the past two years. On Monday, March 6, 2017, it opened to the public. Less formal than its previous incarnation, the new Pujol, with a vibe heavily influenced by Olvera’s restaurant Cosme in New York City, is divided into two distinct dining areas: a large Omakase-style taco counter with Mexico’s first taco tasting menu and a main dining area where six-course menus are served. Photographer Araceli Paz, who shot Olvera’s book México de adentro hacia afuera (Phaidon, 2015), shares with us the scene on the restaurant’s first night of service in its new setting. –Editor’s Note
This is not about dishes, flavors, or new menu proposals. Not even about lists or rankings. It is about the people who give life to Pujol. People who enjoy their work, collectively accomplish a mission of excellence, and chase perfection. Inside this place, there is a mixture of ideas, running somewhere between clockwork precision and the laid-back whimsy that characterizes Mexican heritage. Team work, commitment, an adherence to the tenets of hospitality and making guests happy, accompanied by a deep sense of pride — all of this is palpable. You can smell it, above the epazote, the burnt chiles, the masa, the mezcal. Led by chef Enrique Olvera, who’s not called Padrino for nothing; concerned, caring, endowed with a sixth sense and an almost sick attention to imperceptible details. Even after 17 years, everyday feels like the first, but at the same time, like they have been doing this for a lifetime. –Araceli Paz