She is not only an inspiration in the kitchen but also one of the most interesting and creative women in the food business nowadays. I remember reading her book in one go and fell in love instantly.
Especially when she described her childhood spent most of the time in her grandmom’s kitchen and her hard days working in the important Parisian restaurants at the beginning of her career. She is a woman to admire. Head to toe. Mind and soul.
As a celebrity chef and one of the presenters of the popular Masterchef – Brazil, Paola is one of those chefs that you love or hate. In my case, it was love at first sight.
So, here I was on Arthur Azevedo’s street in Pinheiros, a buzzing area of Sao Paulo’s gastronomic scene, looking for her signature dishes in the restaurant that she created a decade ago.
Arturito is placed in a concrete building. No big signs. No big fuzz. It’s not easy to find. You need to pay attention to not miss it, like we did, and had to go back all street looking for it carefully, until finding its entrance.
As we entered the door, we were welcomed by a friendly staff that told us it was yet possible to have a table, even though we knew the restaurant would be closed two hours later. As we didn’t book a table, it was a bit of a gamble. But wow, we got a table!
After asking for a generous glass of gin, we were placed quickly at our table in the back of the restaurant. Something that I liked straight away because I could see the whole length of the restaurant from my seat.
It was packed. But it is not a spacious place. The first impression of Arturito was quite positive. I love its minimalist décor – plants, wooden tables, comfy sofas, and an industrial vibe that could fit in any area of London or even Birmingham.
Hello Paola, can you open a restaurant in my city, please? It’s elegant, simple, and discrete – exactly like Paola herself.
We were offered her famous organic artisanal bread as appetiser/couvert. Yes, indeed. Bring it on! With a big smile on her face, the waitress also brought butter and olive oil.
I know its famous recipe, and the bread is divine indeed. I could travel back to São Paulo just to taste it again. But as soon as my friend and I tucked in, we both knew that Paola’s food experience would be something else.
The menu is succinct, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy to choose what to eat instantly. You have the executive menu as an option as well. But there was no vegetarian main the day I visited it.
We decided to have a starter, and my friend asked for
Homemade ricotta bruschetta and bagna tail cauda. I confess I have tried it without knowing what a “bagna tail” was made with anchovies. Oops! It was delicious anyway. Too late to regret.
My starter was a lovely salad made with Buffalo mozzarella, persimmon, arugula and caqui– a sweet Brazilian fruit that now I know, can be a perfect match for it.
The portions at Arturito are generous and beautifully presented. We were read for mains and I was intrigued by the Smoked aubergines & okra in the wood oven, with tahini sauce, lentils, chermoula, and flatbread.
I thought that nobody could make okra stands out on a plate. Arturito does. What a delicious main. I do love aubergine and the lentils were also delicious.
I didn’t finish the flatbread because it was huge. But it was just another delicious addition to the meal.
My friend Lana had Lamb roasted in the wood oven, okra, chermoula, hot rolls, pickles, and salad as the main of the Executive menu, and she was all compliments on this.
It’s worth it to say this restaurant presents a simple and tasty menu, with the simplicity that makes food outstanding.
Working with quality ingredients can be the secret to making things work so well at Arturito. There are plenty of wine options, spirits, and craft beer to drink in between. I was tempted to get another cocktail.
But it was time for dessert! I asked for a lovely Pannacotta with grappa & vanilla and jabuticaba sauce.
My dessert was simply delicious. I am suspicious, as a big fan of pannacotta, but the jabuticaba sauce is the Brazilian touch that delivered the balance to this delicious dessert. My friend had chocolate ice cream with a biscuit, ( that I didn’t know what it was made of). But the biscuit was delicious too.
Arturito is a gastronomic experience. To my surprise, an affordable surprise. It’s a gem of São Paulo that also happens to be the restaurant of my favourite chef as well. I do recommend you to book a table there and make the most of it. You won’t regret it one single bit.