The concept came alive after a nine-month journey to track down the perfect bones, including oddities like a whale spine sourced from Colima beaches, a bear skull found in the north of Mexico, a puma skull from the south of Mexico and a tiger skull.
Looking for a creepy spot to host a Halloween dinner? Jet over to Guadalajara, Mexico, and book a coveted reservation at Hueso, which means “bone” in English. From floor to ceiling, the space is decked out in thousands of bones and skulls. Really, though, it’s not that spooky; in fact, it’s one of the most stunning restaurant interiors you’ll ever see, plus the food is excellent.
A single bone serves as the signage for the restaurant, and while it sounds morbid, step foot into Hueso and you'll feel like you're at a chic exhibition of carefully curated animal carcasses. Dreamed up by Ignacio Cadena of Cadena + Asociados Concept Design, he worked for months to execute the impeccable, macabre restaurant design for chef Alfonso Cadena, his brother.
The concept came alive after a nine-month journey to track down the perfect bones, including oddities like a whale spine sourced from Colima beaches, a bear skull found in the north of Mexico, a puma skull from the south of Mexico and a tiger skull. Chef Cadena’s favorite is the whole snake skeleton. “It makes me hallucinate,” he says.
The idea to decorate with bones was “inspired in a Darwinian vision,” says co-owner Juan Manuel Monteón. From there, the team spent six months restructuring inside wall sections, painting and strategically placing each bone and skull to Cadena’s liking. The open kitchen and open floorplan allows for diners to enjoy the quirky, yet modern design while sharing stories and noshing some of Guadalajara’s best food.
Communal tables are scattered throughout the restaurant, prompting guests to share. “That’s why we have dishes to share and every dish is located at the center of the table,” says Monteón. “We also have an open kitchen to share smells, looks and the kitchen environment. Everything is in hueso color because the restaurant is a canvas and the main characters from this work of art are the people at our table, as well our dishes.”
It doesn’t stop with the interior, either, as chef Cadena takes it a step further in using bones in his kitchen. “For me, Hueso is flavor, and I use bones a lot in my kitchen—and according to the decoration, it is a tribute to the animal sacrifice and the responsibility to use the whole product,” he says. A current favorite is beef tongue, a nod to chef’s hometown of Hermosillo, Sonora. “The combinations of flavors from the beef tongue and green sauce with charcoal makes me feel primitive and I love that."
Chef Cadena recently created a dessert that mimicked a bone, aptly named "Broken Bone," crafted with Guava coconut foam, lemon and quince liqueur, fig jelly and raspberry with pink pepper. “Hueso is a house and workshop where we offer the opportunity to our collaborators to freely create and innovate,” says Monteón, when speaking of chef’s creativity in kitchen. For Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican holiday, the chef will focus on using whole animals. “We will cook entire animals to present the animal in its own natural way and this special dish will be decorated with seasonal flowers like cempasuchil (Mexican marigold),” he says.