Mmugazz Art & Cuisine Bistro
I had heard of a new place in Bucerías called Mmugazz. It turned out it was not that new, as I was invited to their first anniversary celebration. I am currently living in Puerto Vallarta, and having become a real pata salada, going to Bucerías means going “all the way to Bucerias.”
Anyway, I said yes and took off. Traffic was slow but uneventful. We arrived just in time to start what turned out to be a very nice evening.
Finding the right spot was not so easy. A sports bar next door and a small cafeteria sharing the access may create some confusion. You have to walk through a narrow aisle to get to the restaurant itself. The walls feature paintings for sale, as it turns out the place is also an art gallery. Management might as well publicize this fact a bit more… back to that in a moment.
When you come out of the access aisle is when the magic begins. The narrow hall opens to an open space you don’t really expect. The first thing you bump into is the kitchen. Yes, the kitchen. An open kind of kitchen where you can see the chefs diligently working on the orders. The aromas of their concoctions welcome you and prepare you for what is to come.
Then you get to the al-fresco bar, with high tables facing the stage. Live music too! This was getting better by the minute. We considered having a drink before heading to our table, but the place was filling rapidly, so we went straight to the restaurant hall.
Because of the celebration, mezcal cocktails were on the house. We tried the Mezcal Tonic Sentir, with St. Germain liquor and rosemary. The second good impression of the evening. Then, the music started right on cue: Eugenia Prieto opened with rock classics on her violin. A talented young woman indeed, very accordingly to the atmosphere of the restaurant.
Chef and owner Miguel Muñoz came to or table and offered a tasting menu. Of course, we agreed on the spot. Food started to flow. First came the ravioli, with home-made pasta with spinach and epazote. The stuffing was pumpkin flower, a Mexican delicacy, and goat cheese. You can order them with no cheese if you are on the vegan side. The crispy huitlacoche topping was a luxury.
Next stop: the Tom Yum Soup. It was the star of the night for one of my co-diners, as she didn’t stop praising the flavor balance. “Top three of the tom yum soups I have ever had, and it’s my favorite soup”, she said.
Mezcal with tamarind was the next cocktail, a little too sour for my personal taste (tamarind is not my thing), but nobody else seemed to care. Everybody enjoyed it thoroughly.
You may also like: Tacos of many and any thing
Taco time! But not just any taco. A duck taco was it. Cooked in carnitas-style with caramelized onion, it was a novel and tasteful way of having duck. The peanut macha sauce complemented the Mexicanness (is this even a word!?) of the dish.
Apparently, we were done with appetizers, as together came the prawns and the octopus. I enjoy prawns as much as the next guy, so I loved them. The gremolata sauce and the kalamata olives made for the perfect dressing. The octopus came in adobo sauce, au gratin, and an avocado mousse worth of licking your fingers.
Eugenia was still playing to great applause when dessert in form of red fruits ice-cream came. It was the perfect closing for an extraordinary meal.
All in all, Mmugazz Art & Cuisine Bistro is a place worth visiting. Its art section features local painters with a price range for everyone. It deserves some more noise about it. Chef Miguel Muñoz is the kind of self-made chef, very accessible to talk about what he calls “everybody’s project, I’m just spearheading it.” We will come back.
All the photographs are courtesy of Ibet Lepe, from Fan Foody.
The highlight: the overall environment. Food, music, and art create a special atmosphere
Window of opportunity: Access is very difficult for handicapped people. Ramps would be a welcome addition.
Where to find it: