Review: Tuju

15 July 2017

This morning was when South American became Latin America…I say that with love, but… I woke up in darkness — not because of the snow outside (yay!!!) but the power had gone out in the hotel. Oh goodie, that’s 10 floors to walk down with my luggage… But thank goodness it came back after about half hour…and I got down the normal way…

Ride to SCL was smooth but it was sheer chaos at the airport as the weather caused mass chaos with flight schedules… It really doesn’t help when the airport’s management seems to be on a different planet to the airlines, as nonsensical info was being constantly posted, forcing folks like me to run across the entire airport several times to false info. People were all getting into wrong queues and I almost ended up on a flight to Colombia because of this chaos… Hours later, 5 gate changes later, we finally got off the ground…sigh…

Got into São Paulo bit late, but thank goodness the hour was odd enough that GRU Airport wasn’t chaotic. But unfortunately my phone signal was messed up so had to take a rip-off taxi from the airport…ugh… This was a defining feature of Brazil, compared to elsewhere in the region… Got to my hotel and dropped my stuff and quickly changed and hopped onto a Cabify — which works great especially in Brazil and is cheap as heck — and went to dinner.

Tonight’s dinner is at Tuju, a place that has that similar ethos of using ingredients found locally that’s not really accessible elsewhere. I like this type of dining when I travel. With that amazing dinner last night at Boragó this place has a big challenge on its hands… I got there at about 9pm as I smartly made my booking so late — just in case my flight had issues (and yes it did)…

It’s pretty relaxed and I order a cocktail and decide to happily go with the tasting menu. Things look very interesting. It’s a chilled place, so I chilled and enjoyed watching the open kitchen at work. Then soon, with a pour of local cava, the procession of snacks started…

01-corn-crab

The first was a totally delicious “sandwich” filled with crab, corn and peppers. Damn this was good! Then surprisingly a pour of a local microbrew wheat beer for the following snack…

02-sunchoke-salt beef

Next up was a sunchoke crisp with salt-cured beef and gherkins. Surprisingly tasty as all the flavours worked very well with each other.

03-perilla-eggplant

Following that was eggplant with miso and seaweed, wrapped by a perilla leaf. Really nice, the eggplant really comes out great here with the miso made with local nuts. Excellent!

04-milk crisp-trout roe

Following that was a milk crisp topped with trout roe, with just a touch of avocado and kombucha. Was a little hard to eat as the roe flew everywhere, but it was delicious!

05a-flowers

Then the last “snack” was quite something to look at — a plate of local edible flowers with nasturtium and a touch of persimmon. And then a palate cleanser…

PC

Wow, this “ginger ale” is all ginger. House-made with local gingers. This was fantastic, and that’s saying a lot from someone who usually doesn’t like ginger. Fantastic!

Things slowed just a wee bit but still moved at a good rate. The dishes were often brought out by folks in the kitchen, and they did a fantastic job of describing the dishes. Little did I know this would be a total anomaly here in Brazil, but this was running great and the kitchen staff is fantastic. A pour of an Argentinian white and here we go.

06-turnips

I chuckled a little when I saw this pickled turnip dish…yeah, I won’t say more. It’s probably a tribute. But it was tasty, the acidic base worked really well here with a touch of local honey. I saw later that they harvest it themselves on-site, so that’s pretty cool. A nice start before we go to something a bit heavier — evidenced by the pour of a sherry…

07a-duck egg porcini soup

Oh this is a fantastic soup, with very intense flavours of duck egg and wild porcini. Absolutely lovely stuff here. One of my favourite dishes of the night. Then with a pour of a rose we move into the larger dishes.

08-red mullet

Today’s local catch is red mullet, and it’s quite nice. Touch of tumeric as you can guess, and some delicious palm heart — I love these things! I was told the fish is from near Rio. Very nice dish!

Surprisingly the next pour was a Brazilian pinot noir, the first biodynamic wine from the country. I imagine we’re moving into a meat dish, but little did I know how good it was gonna be…

09b-montau pork_edited

This is Montau pork, which was just drool-inducingly good. Lovely flavour and happily rich, this was really a fantastic item to finish the savouries on (I’m counting the dishes). The wee salad was also quite nice. Oh this was good!

A wee moment to catch my breath. This intro to Brazilian cooking has been pretty damn awesome! Again I’m so glad I picked a good place to start things out like in Santiago! This is excellent! Then they brought some local coffee and I was intrigued they did that as a pairing to…

10b-cheese

…Cheese! Some nice local stuff from Minas Gerais, mostly cow milk but one goat. Really tasty stuff, and surprisingly the coffee worked! And then we shifted to the desserts with a German white.

11-jackfruit_edited

A jackfruit mousse graced with clovers. I have to say those clovers are just amazing, the citrousy flavours that fly out of them just work wonders here. Fabulous, especially with a very mild wine. A good dessert! And finally, the last of the 12 courses arrive with a pour of some port…

12-fig sorbet

Fig sorbet, with a coconut tapioca base. Delicious! What a nice way to finish things up! As I enjoyed the last of my port and was gonna as for some coffee, they brought out the closer — what they call the Pandora’s Box…

13-sin chocolates

I had to laugh as they joke that this is an offering of local sins…chocolates in tribute to tobacco, cachaça, coca and poppy. LOL! I was enjoying myself so much I ordered another cocktail to slowly close the night. A cool little place. The dining area was emptied out a bit by now, but the bar was still very busy. It was about midnight and I was running a bit out of energy from all the unnecessary drama at SCL Airport, so I called it a night and grabbed a Cabify to head back to the hotel.

I have to say this is an excellent opening here in Brazil, as Tuju is a really awesome restaurant. Good service, excellent cooking, a really nice way to spend a late Saturday night here in São Paulo! Awesome start!

Tuju
Rua Fradique Coutinho 1248, Pinheiros
São Paulo, Brasil

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3 thoughts on “Review: Tuju

  1. Pingback: Review: Tordesilhas | melhuang1972

  2. Pingback: Review: D.O.M. | melhuang1972

  3. Pingback: Review: Olympe | melhuang1972

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