Reviewed: Esquina Mocotó, São Paulo

Esquina Mocotó, São Paulo

If there is something I love doing on my first day in Brazil every time I go, it’s to eat the food I miss most of the time living here in Germany. On my recent visit to my home country, I made sure to try a place everyone is talking about in São Paulo, Esquina Mocotó, where it is possible to eat the typical food of the Northeast region of Brazil, where I come from, in a gourmet version.

Both the restaurant and the chef, Rodrigo Oliveira, have won national awards. He was elected the chef of the year, and the famous Michelin guide now recommends his venue. The interesting thing about it, is that if you go over to their website and check the menu, you will notice something hard to believe: it is far from being expensive, the most pricey dish costs around R$45 – approximately 10€!

Awards
Awards

By checking their menu online, prices and recommendations, I just couldn’t not go there. So I made a reservation well in advance, as I heard it was pretty hard to get a table. But to my surprise, when I arrived for lunch on a Wednesday, things were calm, contrary to what it looks like on weekends and holidays.

So on our first day in Brazil, W and I were set to try some Brazilian food in a gourmet version, cooked by someone very creative and courageous – for innovating the traditional. But before I go on and reveal what I thought of the place, join me for this lunch.

Drinks

I ordered a simple lemon juice – without the skin, I find it too bitter – and W, of course, ordered a homemade beer – yes, they have their own beer:

Esquina Mocotó, São Paulo

Esquina Mocotó, São Paulo

Appetizers

Before our appetizers arrived, we enjoyed homemade sourdough bread, with butter and olive oil:

Esquina Mocotó, São Paulo

As for the appetizers, we ordered – probably too much, but no regrets – little tapioca squares and cured meatballs with cream cheese. Honestly? They were very yummy.

Tapioca squares
Tapioca squares
Tapioca square
Tapioca square
Cured meatballs
Cured meatballs

We had an extra appetizer, as it came along with the menu of the day chosen by W. He wasn’t much interested on trying it out, but I decided to venture myself. It was Beijúpirá – a type of fish – zucchini and verbena. A crazy mix of taste? Yes. It wasn’t really my taste.

Esquina Mocotó, São Paulo
Beijúpirá fish, zucchini and verbena

Main course

But then it came the main course. I chose the cured beef with baião de dois – a mix of rice, beans and cheese, very traditional – and red onion confit, and W chose the beef steak, with roasted mashed potatoes and farofinha – bread crumbs. Too much info? Take a look at them:

Cured beef, baião de dois and red onions comfit
Cured beef, baião de dois and red onions confit
Steak
Beef steak with mashed potatoes and farofinha

Dessert

Still some room for dessert? Yes, please. My choice: spices cake, dulce de leche ice cream and cocoa crumble. Almost perfect, but I actually hate cloves, and its taste was all over the cake, it even masked the coffee taste – which I normally feel immediately. All forgiven, as the crumbles and ice cream were divine.

Esquina Mocotó, São Paulo

W’s choice of dessert: passion fruit ice cream, fresh mango, rosé pepper meringue and mango sauce. Weird but awesome!

Esquina Mocotó, São Paulo

A final touch

And to finish in great style, we were offered two amazing drinks. For W, a small shot of cachaça with vanilla:

Cachaça and vanilla
Cachaça and vanilla

For me, Lollipop Rossini, made with Prosecco, liqueur and strawberry puree. And the final touch? Dehydrated strawberry around the glass, just because!

Lollipop Rossini
Lollipop Rossini

Of course, I didn’t resist, I had to try the dehydrated strawberry.

Lollipop Rossini
Lollipop Rossini

The highlights

  • The baião de dois – beans and rice – was amazing. Probably the best I have eaten so far.
  • The Lollipop Rossini cocktail!

Good to know

  • The restaurant is very far from the center city, located in the North region of São Paulo;
  • It doesn’t open on Mondays;
  • It’s not a fancy restaurant. But who said that a restaurant needs to be fancy to serve amazing food?
  • Make sure to make a reservation in advance, specially if you plan to go on holidays or weekends. Otherwise, you might have to wait a while to get a table;
  • The restaurant on its right side – Mocotó – it’s from Rodrigo’s father, where it all began;
  • Look out at their website for offers, once in a while they have a menu of the week for a great price.

A little bit of honesty

I loved it! I can highly recommend it and I would definitely go back. But from the center city, it’s a trip!

 

The Verdict

 

Location

Probably the only negative thing about the restaurant. Its location is not practical at all, so spare some time and money to get there by taxi.

Ambience

Colourful, friendly and inviting, with typical songs of the Northeast region of Brazil in the background and a bar from where you can see the kitchen.

Service

Great, attentive and fast service. The chef came to greet us and explain our dishes, which was very nice. Apparently he always does this.

Organization

Very organised!

Menu

Very creative and varied menu, with all the main typical dishes of the Northeast region.

Food

Amazing food, well prepared, great appearance, and very creative.

Drinks

Great options for beer – including homemade – fresh juices and creative and innovative cocktails.

Value for money

Incredible price for what you get, unbelievable.

 

How many suitcases does this restaurant deserve?

5-star

 Esquina Mocotó, São Paulo

Esquina Mocotó

Chef: Rodrigo Oliveira

Av. Nossa Senhora do Loreto, 1108 – Vila Medeiros

São Paulo, Brazil

Reservations

 

Disclosure: all the costs were covered by myself, except for the drinks at the end, which were kindly offered by the restaurant. And of course, all opinions are my own.