There’s a certain flourish in the way food is served at Boteco or rather Boteco - Restaurante Brasileiro, a Brazilian restaurant that opened its doors to Bengaluru recently, and it’s much like the way Brazilians are – effervescent and vibrant. Perhaps that is also why the restaurant is catching up quick, it meets the Indian flavour palate well enough. The murals on the wall are vivid but not loud, the seating, most of which is along the walls, is comfortable, the vibe is refreshing, and the music sets your mood right. Chef Guto Souza, the man who heads the kitchen, will tell you that he came to India to understand its food and flavours and how it helped him to shape his own culinary skills. “My mind was blown,” he says. Fortunately, the Brazilian food here is not “Indianised”.
Before delving into the food, it might help to know that Brazilian food has influences from Europe, Africa and even a bit of Japan, apart from the native dishes. And as far as the regional cuisines are concerned, Brazilians love their pork as much as they love cassava (tapioca), drawing influences from Portuguese and African cuisines. And if you moved further down the coast to the south, beef is what they like. And given that the country has over 7,000 km of coast, seafood is common.
What you walk into
Boteco is elegant yet casual. It’s a place you can dress up for or show up in shorts, come for a date or just to be alone. Spread across two levels, this 100-seater restaurant weaves Brazilian culture into the space smoothly, be it the black and white framed photographs on the walls, the painted pillars and murals that depict the country’s culture and art or the plants that bring the outdoors inside. It’s intimate, and that’s something worth writing home about.
What’s on the menu
The whole “oh this tastes like that thing I ate at that restaurant in that city” is like a little game most food lovers tend to play. It will happen here too. However, unless you’ve actually eaten at a Brazilian restaurant before and the word ‘Brasil’ rolls off your tongue without a thought, you’ll find it difficult to pronounce these names a little. But it’s fun, practising pronunciations while you wait for your food.
The chef quite literally won our hearts in the first round itself with the Pão de Queijo. See that connection right there though? Pão/pav = bread. Got to love these little nuggets. The dish however is not a nugget. It’s a little ball of deliciousness. A totally native creation, the Pão de Queijo is a cheese bun and belongs to the region of Minas Gerais. The softness of this bun and the way the cheese wraps around your tongue will make your heart melt a little. Gusto told us that it’s something that was always available at home. If the Brazilians can eat this for breakfast and snack, so can we.
I got a salad too, as proof of my deep concern for health. The Beetroot Ravioli, where the ravioli is made from beetroot and only beetroot, filled with goat cheese and topped with almonds and a drizzle of saffron sauce, would under different circumstances make you want to lick the plate, but one must behave and only look longingly as they clear the plate away. I must give credit to the delicateness of this presentation because almost everything else we ate after was a lot stronger in flavour. The Coxhina, which is a mildly-spiced bar snack reminded me of a fat cutlet except that it’s coated in dough before being fried. This is perhaps the only dish I didn’t care much for. Fried dough is not my thing and neither is chicken. But if you douse it into ample sauce or relish, you might enjoy it. What I did care for immensely was the Camarão Copacabana. Prawns tossed in butter garlic and wine and then served on roasted tomatoes on mini ‘puris’ and then topped off with aioli, pineapple chutney and dill – this is the dish that Gusto said he simple HAD TO introduce into the menu because it reminded him so much of the puris he’s been OD-ing on since he came to India. The snack is lovely and you feel its love when you pop the flavour bomb into your mouth and chew on it quietly.
The mains section is exhaustive. There’s a lot in there and you might feel a bit overwhelmed. But here’s a thought; when in doubt, order a platter.
The Mixed Seafood Platter comes with grilled fish, crab cake, calamari, crab sticks, prawns on a big platter served with a plethora of condiments that range from mildly sweet to hot. You pick whatever you like, close your eyes, dip it into whatever relish/sauce your finger finds. Eating this can be fun. It’s a simple dish where flavour rules.
The same goes for the Mixed Meat Platter. It has a lot of tenderloin, pork sausage, bacon, New Zealand lamb and more relish you can ask for. The meats were top notch, grilled to perfection and seasoned just enough to add that extra flavour without taking over the innate flavour of the meat. A word of advice: unless your appetite resembles that of Obelisk, please share.
After these two platters, it’s quite impossible to move. So we sat there, sipped on our drinks (which I’ll come to later) and pretended to ponder about desserts. We went straight for the simplest thing on the menu; churros – deep-fried sticks of heaven (it’s just flour) and served with chocolate sauce and doce de leite (literally meaning milk jam where milk and sugar are cooked for hours to resemble somewhat of a toffee sauce) – are hard to stop at one. Maybe we should have gone for the Profiteroles too. Next time.
From the bar
A drink or two at Boteco is must. The menu has the usual suspects – beer, shooters, whiskies and rums and of course tequila – but it’s a cocktail you must try. I got myself a Whiskey Lavender Highball and the subtlety of the blend was delightful. They have other concoctions too, ranging from sweet to ‘am too adult for sweet cocktails’. The Caipirinha made with imported Brazilian Cachaça (a spicy, sweet, fruity clear liquor distilled from fermented sugarcane juice), lime and sugar is a classic. Get it. But if you want something fun and experimental, I’d recommend Popcorn Gin & Tonic made with cold brew with a splash of tonic water and gin. Yes, it’s sweet, but don’t forget the ‘fun and experimental’ part. We’d recommend reservations if you’re planning to go on the weekend, this delightful place has the city quite interested.
Where: Ram Kunj, 16/3, Magrath Rd, Ashok Nagar
Reservations: 08049913534 (children below 18 years are not permitted during dinner on Fridays and Saturdays)
How much: Rs 2,000 plus taxes for two (without alcohol)