D.O.M. by Alex Atala-São Paulo, Brazil ***

Here is my last post about São Paulo, for now anyway.  Brazilian chef Alex Atala is well known for transforming the Brazilian culinary scene by applying French and Italian methods and recipes to showcase unique and native Brazilian ingredients in his contemporary dishes.   Atala started his career at 19 years old in Belgium, worked in various Michellin stars establishments. In France he worked at Jean Pierre Bruneau’s Michelin 3-star restaurant, and staged at Hotel de la Cote D’Or with Chef Bernard Loiseau.  He did a stint in kitchens in Montpellier, France and Milan, Italy. His restaurant D.O.M., situated in the best neighbourhood of São Paulo – Jardins,  was rated the 7th Best Restaurant in the world by S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant in 2011 and holds Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In South America.
I couldn’t  miss the opportunity to eat at D.O.M.  It was one of those Oh.My.God. moments in life, worth every single penny and even better we met the charming Atala in person. That day he came to every single table, meeting and greeting all customers and he signed his very big and heavy book for sale at around £100 a pop for one customer. The restaurant deco is modern and yet classical with added simplicity in places and elegance. The  staff is very knowledgeable, friendly and discreet. I opted for the 4 dishes tasting menu at R$280, around £100, and my friend who suffer from many food intolerance opted for two dishes on the menu suggested by the maitre d’. Note: the staff were very accommodating, dealt with my friend’s requests in a polite and cordial manner. Nothing was a problem and we felt very welcome, indeed. A visit to D.O.M. is  a gastronomic  experience of a lifetime. You won’t find this kind of refined and unique dishes anywhere in the world. If you were wondering the meaning of D.O.M. : it’s is an acronym for Deo Optimo Maximo, which means “God is Optimum and Maximum”
The restaurant – around fifteen tables downstairs and a room for private gatherings upstairs
My tasting menu:
Hors d’oeuvre: Sweet potato and smoked garlic pate served with pão de queijo
Below, first course, not on the menu, compliment of the chef – Brazilian Catupiry cheese with fried cassava, reduction of Port and chives. Matching drink : Jabitucaba liquor
Suggestion of wine and some of the wine list: my glass of chardonnay was £20. Steep!
Below, brioche breaded oysters with tapioca (sagu) and salmon roe marinaded in soy sauce and olive oil:  AMAZING!

Chibé, below right, is a hydrated cassava flour, usually made from the pulp of cassava and manioc – mass extracted from fermented cassava, native of the Amazon. A bit like couscous served with prawns and scallop, lime juice, coriander and wild flowers and herbs – fresh and light.  Below left, Mushroom consomme with wild flowers – my friend’s gluten, diary and wheat free choice – Fabulous!
Mushroom consomme


streak in butter with lemon thyme, smoked cassava, broccoli and  peanuts foam  and Palm heart fettuccine carbonara – wow I want to make this at home!
Ribs slow cooked in Malbec  served with cassava bras (small fried strips) with Malbec foam, full portion for my friend and my tasting menu portion – below. The meat melted in the mouth and the strips of cassava were to die for. The best dish in my tasting menu. I love meat!
Aligot – a smooth and elastic texture cheese dish, traditionally eaten in the Pyrenees, France – made from mashed potatoes blended with butter, cream, crushed garlic, and the melted cheese , they use gruyere (French cheese)  and fresh Minas (Brazilian cheese)- The waiter comes from across the room playing with the fondue-like mass between two spoons and places it on your plate –  It’s pure theatre – a show stopper!  Delicious!!
Sweet green papaya ribbons, yogurt snow and bacuri (Brazilian fruit typical of North, Northwest of the country) garnished with wild white flowers.
I love the yogurt snow – the texture of snow and taste of natural yogurt works really well with the sweetness of the green papaya. Festival of textures and flavors.
Best desert ever?  At this point I was already full. However, the chef sent an extra desert and
to date this is the best desert I’ve ever eaten.  Thank You Atala!
Very light sponge cake of cashew nut served with Jack Daniels ice cream, dark chocolate sauce, sprinkled with salt, black pepper and curry powder, garnished with wild rocket.  Matching drink: another Jabuticaba liquor. I can get used to it!
We finished our meal with Capim Santo infusion and a variety of petit fours
right : my favourite childhood sweet – Dadinho – sweet peanut paste in dice form
The bill:  1 tasting menu (4 dishes), 2  dishes, 1 glass of wine, water, tea and parking.
well I had more then 4 dishes, actually…. who’s counting?
One of Atala’s books
In the kitchen with Atala
Unforgettable experience! A ‘must’ if you ever find yourself in São Paulo.
D.O.M. : Rua Barao de Capanema, 549 Jardins, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Reservation: +55 113 088 0761

D.O.M. (2011) from Ale Melo on Vimeo.