Yes, you read that right the first time. Brazilian cuisine has found its way to Pune – a sentence I never thought I’d hear myself say.
After hearing good things about Boteco through the culinary grapevine, a couple of my friends and I decided to check it out. We arrived an hour before opening time (7pm), but the staff were kind enough to seat us immediately. The decor is in keeping with the theme, and very tastefully executed.
We chose to sit outdoors, and were graced with a light breeze on an otherwise balmy day. In keeping with the casual vibe of the evening, we ordered a couple of beers and asked if the Chef was around. Lucky for us, he was, and after a little chat with Chef Guto Souza, we were quite excited to try new food. Having no previous experience with Brazilian fare to compare this meal to, we requested him to recommend some typical Brazilian dishes for us to order.
Boteco, Restaurante Brasileiro
Chef sent us an amuse bouche of arancini with a lovely smoked zucchini soup to kick things off. A superb way to start our meal!
For Entradas (Starters) we tried the Coxinha – a Boteco specialty of lightly spiced chicken covered in dough and golden fried; Pastel de Peixe – fish stuffed pockets of pastry, one of the most traditional snacks from Brasil, and Escondidinho – homemade dried meat/steak topped with mascarpone and parmesan cheese, and lightly spiced pumpkin cream. Everything was perfectly cooked – I wouldn’t have picked the Coxinha on my own, but it was nice to try something different. The pastels with sea bass were delicious, and reminded me of curry puffs; but that Escondidinho was a most gorgeous dish, definitely worth swooning over! Subtle, buttery, slightly spiced and with just the right amount of umame – this one’s a winner, folks!
As we were halfway into a food coma, we picked Tenderloin Steak – cooked medium-rare with a thyme butter, and Belgian Pork Ribs (not on the menu) for Principais (Mains); both were served with farofa (toasted cassava flour with fried onions), cassava fries, vinaigrette and salad. Of the two, I’d come back for more of that steak anytime! It was so tender, we almost couldn’t believe it was buffalo beef. The sauce on the ribs was piquant, I just wish we had more of it on the plate. Ah, meaty heaven!
Of course, my favourite part of the meal is Sobremesas (Dessert), and it didn’t disappoint! We chose a Doce de Leite com Churros – fried dough pastry served with warm condensed milk, and Chef suggested the Lemon Mousse – made from his mother’s recipe. The Churros were different than the usual sugary stuff we’re so used to chowing down on – less sweet and much more palatable. The Lemon Mousse was sublime, and definitely a highlight of our meal. Light, airy and tart, it was perfect in its simplicity.
I can’t even begin to explain how thrilled I am to finally be trying new and different cuisine in Pune. A little expensive? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. I can’t wait for round two!
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Boteco is located at 302, Power Plaza, Lane 7, Above State Bank of India, Koregaon Park, Pune.