Jun 30, 2009

Sub Astor: best new bar in São Paulo

It's not news to anyone in the know that speakeasies are a big trend in New York, and some of the city's best little bars are clearly inspired by the original speakeasies where drinks were served in a clandestine way, all very hush-hush. My fave in New York is Apothèke.

Turns out São Paulo now has its first speakeasy bar, called Sub Astor. It's owned by a group of guys that also own some of the city's hottest casual restaurants. Including the excellent Lanchonete da Cidade (Alameda Tietê, 110, tel. 55 11 3086-3399, Jardins), a hip diner where many of São Paulo's chefs flock to after their dinner shift (they make the best burguer in town, a mini-version called bombom, pictured below):

But back to Sub Astor... The bar is in the basement of their ultra-popular Astor restaurant, hidden behind velvet curtains. No sign on the door, obviously. Just go to Astor, ask to speak to the maître d' and say you want to have a drink at Sub Astor. That should get you in, as long as you get there early.

The owners are serious drinkers and huge foodies who go to New York often and have been studying the work of some of the best mixologists out there. The result is that the drinks are top-notch and incorporate market-fresh ingredients. As are the dishes, created with the booze-food pairing in mind. Strong flavours, meant to stand up to the high alcohol content of the drinks.

I've gotten many reports from friends who've gone and they're all unanimous in their raves about the burguer. But Sub Astor does serve a vast array of bar food. Here are some exclusive pics of some of what's on the menu:

Picadinho (beef stew) with farofa (toasted manioc flor) and egg. A bar classic, in a cute bento box ready-to-eat presentation.

Finger sandwiches....

Quail eggs with chorizo and béarnaise sauce...

Marinated shellfish

Gazpacho with vodka jelly

Pannacotta bianca with caviar

Cured salmon "à la speakeasy"

Tartare of scampi with apple

And more on restaurants owned by "the Astor gang":
Quintal do Bráz: best pizza in São Paulo
Official website of the Companhia Tradicional de Comércio

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