Restaurant Name: Boteco Location: 302, Power Plaza, Lane No 7, Above State Bank of India, Koregaon Park, Pune Buzz: +91 9158749997 / +91 9158707056 Contact Person: Chef Guto Souza, Owner
Boteco is surely Pune’s and probably India’s first Brazilian specialty restaurant. Located iin Koregaon Park, the most happening destination for food in Pune.
Brazilian cuisine draws its influence from European and traditional American style of cooking with magic of local spices and ingredients. So Indians palates won’t be completely experiencing a peculiar acquired taste but a twist to already known cuisines with interesting new flavors at least that is what Boteco made me believe.
Going by the ambience it’s a smart looking casual hangout place with typical Brazilian decor from the tiling to the utensils hanging in front on the glass wall of the kitchen and depiction of life in Rio in paint on the walls. I really felt happy with the big tables that let everything be placed comfortably in one go without disturbing the initial layout - commonly the size of table is inversely proportional to the suaveness of the restaurant but not at Boteco.
The kitchen is visible clearly from both indoor and terrace seating areas and was looking tidy and orderly to the T. They have a traditional grill and a wood fired brick oven to give the dishes the original taste.
The casualness is restricted to ambiance and décor of the place, when it comes to food it a perfect fine dine experience. Chef Guto Souza – the man behind this quintessential eatery serves impeccable food rendered into ‘art on a plate’.
We were totally not expecting it, but it was a full house and we had to wait a little as we didn’t have prior reservation, place was abuzz by food lovers. Chef Guto attentively walks the floor on regular interludes from the kitchen and welcomes every guest, ensures they are comfortably seated and checks for their food preferences in detail, then makes recommendations (something not seen in Pune often enough). Which is very helpful as its new menu and flavors for most of us and making right choices becomes a breeze.
Maybe our excitement and experiment ready levels were visible on our faces; he came to our table while we were reading through the menu and very graciously offered that he will be deciding what we eat, we mentioned our meat and flavor preferences and the courses we were expecting, rest was very comfortably managed by him and we didn’t bother touching the menu again.
For drinks we ordered Mojito, Long island ice tea for my companions and I went a little experimental and tried Caipirinha as its Brazil national cocktail and it had to be tried, made of local sugarcane alcohol cachaça mixed with sugar and lime. It was a brilliant concoction, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The other 2 drinks were also made very well, with good quality liquor used.
Coming to food, we got 3 starters, 3 mains and 2 starters. Before our food and drinks arrived we were served an Amuse Bouche it had a cheese ball and a Beetroot Soup. Simple and flavorful.Starters that were served recommended by Chef Guto:
- Escondidinho – A Beef preparation, highly recommended by chef as it’s a recipe from his native in Brazil and made very traditionally, it had three layered plating with lightly spiced pumpkin cream, shredded beef and parmesan & mascarpone cheese topping. The specialty was in the dried beef that is prepared by first treating beef with rock salt once dried its soaked in milk then wash slow cooked for 3.5 hours. It made beef so tender and mildly sweet made every morsel a pleasure to eat. As a matter of fact by wife has inhibitions with beef, she hadn’t had it ever before Boteco, yet she liked it so much that she plate initially kept in front of her never saw my side of the table. This is a must have here, highly recommended.
- Bobo de Frango da Bahia – This was a Chicken It had medium sized chicken chunks in cassava (tapioca – a very common Brazilian ingredient) sauce served with house based warm breads. A very nice preparation again the sauce has a very different and pleasing flavor.
- Camarao do Chef – Chef very candidly confessed that this was not a Brazilian preparation but his favorite and so it was on the menu. Crumb fried Prawns served with a spicy chimichuri sauce. The cooking time I think was clocked using a stop watch, prawns were perfectly cooked.
Done with starters, we were confident that chef will decide the right mains for us; we just told him pork, fish and lamb, and we served us again 3 top notch preparations. Wow so in all during our dinner we had – Chicken, Lamb, Fish, Prawns, Pork, and Beef; that was one meaty meal I now realize.
Distinct part of mains was the sides and condiments served on the pork and lamb dishes were delectable. And take this as a tip, don’t start eating the main part of the dish without trying all the sides, try them out so you’ll know the spectrum of flavors served on the plate that will enhance the main dish manifolds.
- Moqueca de Peixe – This was a beautiful looking and very well prepared grilled fish fillet served in a fish stew with caramalised and fried crisp onions and rice on the side. Complete meal for more than one person, this was the most liked dish of the mains. It was served to us based on our preference towards a little spiced preparation and it checked all the boxes for us.
- Leitao a Pururuca – Belgian Pork Belly roasted in a wood fired oven. But it is unlike any other pork belly in town because it does not have a bbq sauce or any other regular flavor, its served on top of a mildly sweet apple puree, and the flavors were balanced by Spanish ham croquettes on a skewer, wafer thin cucumber in a sour vinaigrette, cherry tomatoes in a barbeque dressing, a sauce that was savory and had a pleasant taste of peanut. The belly was well cooked, not exactly melt in the mouth cooked but it held its texture very well and all the different flavors when eaten in different combinations made every bite different from the other. The tapioca cracker was very tough to bite and that was the only thing that was left on the plate after I was done.
- Cordeiro da Lapa – This was also brick oven roasted Lamb served with a vegetable terrine, cassava puree, and a OMG level good mini onions in mint jam. Just like pock when under the knife the lamb also felt little underdone, but once in the mouth it didn’t feel even a little bit chewy or required any extra effort. Flavors were good, and I was stuck on those mini onions.
We had enjoyed very good preparations and it was time to end the meal on a sweet note. Chef served us 2 desserts. And we were served a Brazilian custard variation and a Chocolate lava cake.
- Quindim – Baked custard with fresh grated coconut, a very Brazilian preparation. This was a sweet preparation, I liked it, but it triggered that pain in the tooth that comes from a peculiar extra sweet preparation. One of us got it in first bite and I got it in the last. Strangely it didn’t feel that sweet on the palate but somehow to the tooth only. Otherwise it was a good preparation in terms of texture and flavor.
- Petit Gateau au Chocolat – A chocolate lava cake that totally deserved the fancy name. Very warm with a molten chocolate core that was not very runny, small and perfect. It vanished in a flutter.
So that was all the food we had and left as very happy people, recently I read about food meditation. If I have to try that I can do it with food served here. Now this level of experience comes at a price that is somewhere around a grand per person for food (thanks to the extra taxes that came in action last month). But in my perspective this place deserves it and I didn’t feel we over paid.
Plan a special evening to this place, they have a good selection of wine as well, and you’ll make it a night to remember. For me I am definitely going back soon in a month to try the stuffed sausage and ‘cooked on your table’ steak, and 9’Er (6 liquor cocktail – Cachaca, Vodka, Tequila, White Rum, Triple Sec, Peach Liqueur) but I’ll still order the beef starter and the Caipirinha.
Review and Photos by Varun Khanna | Food Prowl - The Hunger Stories | Boteco