They say you eat with your eyes, and at no other Restaurant I've ever been to is that statement more true, than at the Frida Kahlo Gastromapping restaurant in Playa Del Carmen, on the Mexican Riviera. As the name suggests, the Frida Kahlo Restaurant honours the memory of Frida Kahlo, the internationally celebrated eccentric Mexican painter whose colourful bold artwork, very often of images of herself, was highly influential. As you might expect, the menu features creative dishes with Kahlo’s artwork adorning the walls on multiple levels.
A very cool place to hang out
What really sets the restaurant apart, however, is its use of projection mapping (gastro mapping) to turn dining into an interactive experience. Projection mapping, or creating interactive displays out of common objects and surfaces, is apparently familiar to anyone in the events industry, but using it in a restaurant to make the food part of an interactive art experience is a brand new venture. If food is love, it is also art.
Frida's in the pink
The environment is full of art, the menus are art, and the presentation of the food is very theatrical too, which I loved. Each dish on the menu has a particular unique artistic twist and it is a lot of fun to eat here. The food itself is delicious and is a culinary modern fusion of Mexican cuisine. There is also a good selection of wine produced in Mexico made with french grape varieties. We had a bottle of rose which was very tasty indeed.
Raise a glass to Frida Kahlo!
The gastromapping show is a kind of a 3D film about Frida Kahlo's life and art projected onto the plates of a dining table. It's hugely colourful and entertaining like a sort of Kahlo kaleidoscope. Colourful patterns and pictures of Kahlo's face spin and spread out and settle across the white plates. There is a short voice over about her life in Spanish, I got the sense of it from the pictures as my Spanish is fairly rudimentary.
Art on the table
Our prawn dish had Frida Kahlo's face stencilled onto the 'celebration' tortillas in paprika. The steak dish was presented in a glass dome full of cooking smoke which was released at the table with a theatrical flourish.
Frida is prawn again!
The desserts were delicious indeed and I loved the quirky menus brought hanging on a kind of little hat stand for you to peruse at your leisure.
A chocolate work of art!
There is a huge 3D artwork of Frida's face at the entrance of the restaurant in full day of the dead make up. Her huge eyes swivel from side to side now and again, and in truth, it was this striking image that caught my eye as I walked down fifth avenue, the main shopping and restaurant street in Playa Del Carmen. The first gastro mapping restaurant was opened in Mexico City and this one in Playa will be celebrating its first birthday this December. Another restaurant is scheduled to be opened in LA soon. I love Kahlo's art, I love the strong Mexican colours and bold primitive style of painting, this unique restaurant is a very special way to celebrate this talented woman and to have a great fun dining experience at the same time!