Jan 8 2015



D.O.M is a very special restaurant and one of those very few restaurant to which I can’t give a rating… D.O.M is a modern Brazilian restaurant in Sao Paulo that currently is ranked the 7th best restaurant by the St Pellegrino restaurant awards, the highest ranked restaurant in Latin America. It does not have any Michelin stars yet though, as the Michelin guide is only going to Brazil this year, so I am sure it will get them soon. D.O.M stands for Deo Optimus Maximus, which means ‘God is greatest and best’ and the restaurant was opened by now celebrity chef Alex Atala, who is passionate about Brazil and tries to source ingredients from all over the country, including Amazon. Before opening D.O.M he worked in France and Italy as a chef.

It was not hard to book a table at D.O.M, relative to some of the other top 10 best restaurants in the world, we did book a lot in advance, but there were some empty tables in the restaurant (not many) when we were there and as there had been a power cut there the night we went and no electricity they also offered us a table for lunch the next day, which they could not have done if it had been fully booked. Now let’s focus on the power cut… D.O.M. is located in one of the nicest areas of Sao Paulo, where all the fancy hotels and shops are. A few hours before our dinner there had been a massive storm in Sao Paulo with trees swinging and some falling, that I witnessed from my hotel window, and one of the trees had fallen on a power cable on the street where DOM was located leaving the whole area without any power. When we were looking for the restaurant because there were no lights inside, it was hard for us to find it, but we managed. When we entered the restaurant they told us about the power cut and told us they could only serve us their shorter tasting menu and as I said did offer to host us next day. Unfortunately we already had plans for lunch next day, so we stayed here for dinner.

There was no light in the restaurant and there were candles in the restaurant to create some light. This was very romantic, but they had been quite stingy with the candles and we only had one on our table, which meant you could really barely see the food. When you went to the bathroom, you could see very little as well. I think they could have tripled the amount of candles in the restaurant and still kept the romantic feeling and people would actually be able to see the food. My pictures below are not very good because of this lighting situation, as I could not really take a picture well without flash and with flash the dishes did not look as nice as they were, so for a few of the dishes I have added the flash and no-flash pictures as comparison, but neither of the really do the dishes justice.

The bread and service at D.O.M were not impressive. The bread felt a bit stale and in general is probably one of the worst breads I have had in a top 50 of the world restaurant. The bread was served with clotted cream, olive oil and herbs, garlic spread and Brazilian butter, which were nicely laid out, but were nothing impressive, especially considering the bread and dips we got at Mani, another Brazilian restaurant. Service was not much better. We had been to the Waterside Inn a few weeks ago, where the service was impeccable, and so the service at D.O.M really stood out in a negative way. The waiters were a bit careless, putting plates and cutlery over me, as opposed to from the side, and also the explanation of the dishes was not great, they have a lot to learn on the service front.

The first dish we got from our tasting menu was called “thousand layers manioc, catupiry cheese with “manteiga de garrafa” (Brazilian butter) and kir roçal”. The texture of the root (manioc) was great, crisp outside and a bit starchy inside, and it was served with the drink kir rocal. Next came the “Scallop with coconut milk and Brazil nut”, and we got a pretty bowl of scallop in white coconut milk, that was topped with dried mango, it had a nice balance of flavours, but as I mentioned before, had we seen more of the dish and this meal was not in candlelight, we would have enjoyed it more. The third dish was “Roasted heart of palm with anchovy” served with a wine reduction.

“Pirarucu (Amazonian fish) with tucupi and tapioca”, was served next, which I seem to not have taken a picture off, it was served in a broth and the fish roe. Pirarucu is a huge fish, and it was a light and tasty dish. The next dish was one of the most impressive, at least for me, dishes, “Pineapple with amazonic ant”. I have had an ant once before, in Noma when they came to London, and the waiter told us that the ant would taste of lemongrass and ginger and had an Asian flavor to it, and I was so amazed it did. I tasted one of the ants separately and it tasted rather nice and flavoursome, and was even better with the slice of pineapple. Very unusual, and I am so surprised myself I liked it.

I also very much enjoyed the 6th dish, “heart of palm fettuccine with mushrooms”. It essentially was a delicious pasta dish where the pasta was made our of heart of palm, instead of wheat. It looked like pasta and had a different taste, obviously, but did have that filling (but this time in a good way) feeling pasta gives you, and was delicious with the mushroom flavor.

Another dish that I really enjoyed was the “Aligot” which was the last savoury course and the second to last courses, and the dish before the desert. Aligot is a classic from Auvergne, France and essentially it is mashed potatoes prepared with gruyere cheese and D.O.M’s version of aligot was cured from the state of Minas Gerais. The presentation and arrival of this dish were impressive. A waiter came with this aligot in between 2 spoons, constantly moving it around the spoons and breaking it and stretching it, but the aligot did not fall on the floor. At one point he put some from the spoon he was carrying on my plate and my boyfriends. It had a very deep and filling taste, I absolutely loved it. I have not had aligot before, so I can’t compare how it did to other aligot, but I loved the very thick and rich flavor.

D.O.M only gave you 1 dessert and it was quite a light desert, which I enjoyed but I know some people want a heavier, more chocolate based dessert. The dessert was called “lime and banana ravioli with priprioca”. Priprioca is a species of sedge, a plant that comes from Latin America among other places. The ravioli were light and tasty with a fresh lime and banana flavor. I really enjoyed them. They were also very pretty and beautiful to look at (at least what you could see in the dark).

And now the main reason why I can’t rate this restaurant – besides the fact that in the dark I probably can’t appreciate the taste of the food and the atmosphere and service at D.O.M as well as I could if I had gone there during the day, at the end of my meal, my boyfriend proposed to me. I was crying, shaking, the restaurant was looking at me, applauding, a couple sitting next to us caught us on camera, I spilt champagne all over me, it was so emotional. So now D.O.M will always be a very special restaurant to me, on which I can’t put a number of Ms, as to me the experience I had at D.O.M was priceless.

Date: 08/ 01/ 15
Location: Sao Paulo
Price for 2 people with alcohol: around £400

Maija rated: 



Rua Barão de Capanema, 549 - Jardins SP, 02053-000
São Paulo
D.O.M Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 0