'One Table. One Love'; UNA aims to bring guests together around one table to share a Latin American culinary experience, pioneered by Chef Martín Milesi. "UNA started as a sketch when I was living in Argentina as a professor in the Argentine Institute of Gastronomy", Chef told me. "After 6 years working there and after opening a restaurant in Buenos Aires I took the decision to travel around Europe. Through the kitchens of giants like Nuno Mendes and at El Celler de Can Roca I think London is the city in terms of gastronomy today, hence why I chose to open UNA here".
Arriving at the illustrious location of St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, I was guided to the top floor clock tower apartment and into the tower itself to sip on a delicious passion fruit Caprioska and meet my fellow diners. Either the strength of the cocktail or the fact that none of the 12 guests invited knew each other, made for a completely relaxed environment. Once Chef Milesi had popped in to introduce himself and tell us a bit about the UNA concept, as well as introduce his team, we took a pew around the table and a Latin American feast began.
Chatting to our new-found pals and sipping fine Argentinian wine, we ate our way through beautiful dishes, which were made – as Chef explained at the start of each course – with Latin American ingredients, and a whole load of research and love. From more conceptual dishes such as 'fake potato' – which honoured the Latin American use of potato and was made from chipa, rye bread, mushrooms, dried olives, and baby corn – to classic dishes like ceviche and Argentinian steak, we feasted on six wonderful courses. Each dish, however classic or conceptual, was an ode to the variety and richness of Latin America's ingredients; a matter dear to Martin's heart.
Describing the experience as 'a project beyond food', Martín's dream of developing the relationship between diners, the chef and the food is an unresounding success. The only slight pit-fall is that UNA is a pop-up that is quickly selling out. Head to unalondon.com to find out which dates are still up for grabs, and keep your fingers crosses that Chef Milesi falls utterly in love with London.
Born in Argentina, Martín has been a chef for more than 18 years. At the age of 23 he was Head Chef at the restaurant Bastián en 'Las Cañitas' district of Buenos Aires. He has worked in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and some European countries, including the UK. Martín was a professor specialising in the History of Argentine Food at the Argentine Institute of Gastronomy (IAG), partner of L'Ecole LeNotre of Paris and the Argentine Business University (UADE).
He was also the Founder at the restaurant ‘Raíz', in the City of Buenos Aires. Martín currently gives lectures the gastronomical history and culture of Argentina and Latin America, for example a recent class in the Argentine Embassy in London for Argentine restaurant owners in London, on the influence of Great Britain on the commerce of Argentine meat. He has travelled throughout Europe many times to visit the kitchens of such establishments as 'Berasategui', 'El Celler de Can Roca', 'Viajante', 'Fundación Alicia', and others. Martín is also a professional illustrator.