Feb 27, 2010
By Alexandra Forbes
This blog has talked about Maní restaurant before, on many occasions. But I never tire of repeating: this is a rare gem of a place, where the food is consistently great, and the ambience very cheery and bright. I love the fact that chefs Daniel Redondo and Helena Rizzo are almost always there, in the kitchen.
I had lunch there recently, and it started off on a high note: love the giant crunchy crackers, light as air, that comes with the warm buns and fine butter.
Excellent amuse bouche: an ultra-light tomato water "broth" with an intense tomato flavour, with pearls of burrata cheese (liquid inside), tomatillo and whisper-thin toasted bread.
I had one of Helena's signature dishes as an app: the fausse "feijoada":
Sliced pigs' trotters, super thin like a carpaccio, topped with encapsulated black bean stew (feijoada): little balls that explode in the mouth. Over that, the finest julinenne of fried kale, tiny orange segments. And on the side, a classic rendering of farofa, the toasted manioc flour that is the classic accompaniment of this dish.
My friend had an app that's new on the menu: foie gras bombons
Lovely contrast of the velvety foie and its gelatinous, fruity “envelope".
My main course, in comparison, seemed a tad too rustic and heavy: mandioquinha purée, butterflied shrimp and a large heap of mushrooms. On the side, a too-intense mushroom sauce. A bit disappointing.
My friend had a lovely passion fruit mousse for dessert - this is typical of São Paulo and I highly recommend it to those who've never tried it. Love the crunch of the seeds contrasting with the fatty smoothness of the mousse below.
I had to have her signature dessert, O Ovo, which is not only stunning but delicious. Pure chilled yolkiness in the center, and a cloud of coconut around it. Yum.
With coffee, Maní serves adorable little brigadeiros (chocolate balls rolled in sprinkles) which are a grown-up version of this comfort food classic. Très chic.
In other words: Maní continues to thrill, despite the occasional slip.
Maní: Rua Joaquim Antunes, 210, tel. (11) 3085-4148