Mumbai Food: Pune's outlet now at BKC promises the flavours of Brazil
'A meeting ground for bohemians to wander. For poets to wonder. For musicians to sing and people to make merry. For revolutionaries to conspire, and for you to inspire…' reads the menu at Boteco, BKC's latest entrant that comes down from Pune. On a damp Sunday afternoon, we spot none of the above. Instead, music from forks and knives clanking against the plates fills our ears as we sit in the company of expats tucking into meat-laden Brazilian fare that comes out of the kitchen, helmed by head chef and co-owner Guto Souza.
The spacious restaurant, which derives its name from the Brazilian version of pubs that originated in the 19th century, charms us with patterned tiles, shelves fitted with potted plants, a wall painted with carnival scenes, and quotes that suggest, 'When in doubt, shimmy!' But we don't have to resort to those moves while contemplating what to order. The courteous chef, who frequents each table, helps us with reccos. The extensive menu packs in Brazilian fare along with risotto, ratatouille and momos — influences that have made their way into the country's cuisine, thanks to Japanese and European immigrants.
The interiors. Pics/Suresh Karkera
We begin with Pão de Queijo (Rs 395), traditional Brazilian baked cheese breads. The piping hot golden balls have a delightfully crunchy crust that gives way to soft, stringy mozzarella. We wash them down with Brazilio Slam (Rs 500), a pristine white concoction of coconut-infused cachaça, a spirit made using fermented sugarcane juice, and coconut water. Potent and refreshing, it's a lighter and less sweet version of piña colada sans pineapple.
Pao de Queijo
Puri with prawns
Next, we order Camarao Copacabana (Rs 480) little expecting that the grilled prawns supposed to be laid on a Brazilian crispy pastry would be resting on — believe it or not — fluffy puris! Though unsure of the origins of this oddball idea, we enjoy the dish like a taco, where the puri holds a medley of flavours from soft prawns, tangy roasted tomato sauce, piquant, garlic-y aioli to sweet pineapple chutney.
Galinhada (Rs 495), a rice dish that pays an ode to Souza's home state of Minas Gerais, comforts us with mildly spiced short grains of rice seasoned with saffron, and laced with peas, peppers, cherry tomatoes and succulent strips of chicken.
Chef Guto Souza
We move on to Mix Grill (Rs 690) from the restaurant's signature Churrasqueira (Charcoal Grill) section that's a hat-tip to barbecues that originated in southern Brazil. The platter comes laden with Belgian Pork smoked to perfection, zesty barrels of pork sausages prepared in-house, a tender cut of New Zealand lamb and a steak taken off the grill just before it turns rubbery. We relish the steak with thyme butter, and a bunch of accompaniments like farofa, a mix of cassava flour and onion, mustard paste, and fried-till-crisp chunks of fibrous cassava fries. We exit, glad to have found a carnivore's paradise in the heart of BKC.
TIME: 12 pm to 1 am
AT: G Block, Parinee Crescenzo, near Standard Chartered Bank, BKC.