In a country so vast and diverse in culinary traditions from around the world, TUJU is championing the awakened Brazilian gourmet scene and the rediscovery of the richness of ingredients that come from the tropical forests.
There is a gastronomic revolution happening in Brazil with natural ingredients as the stars. TUJU, in São Paulo, is a ‘lab’ of experimentation and innovative cuisine in the Brazilian hyper-megalopolis. Located in trendy Vila Madalena, the restaurant opened its doors in 2014 and it only took eights months for it to be awarded its first Michelin star.
Ivan Ralston, the chef and co-owner of TUJU, reflects the youthfulness of the gourmet scene in Brazil yet it also reflects its energy. There is a sort of identity to this movement: ongoing research on Brazilian ingredients – abundant as the country; the use of refined cooking techniques and a very close partnership with local and national suppliers. A unique feature is its edible gardens – the restaurant has over 350 edible plant species that are displayed around the premises and at their rooftop greenhouse.
The menu is exquisite: marinated mackerel with trout roe, duck egg with porcini mushroom soup and “jabuticaba” vinegar – a typical Brazilian fruit; cured grouper carpaccio; delightful deserts, ‘Terezinha’ is a delicious orange cake with orange sorbet and ‘cachaça’ slush and a variety of edible flowers and ‘never heard of’ leaves. The cocktail bar is as experimental as the kitchen – we loved the cocktail caipirinha with plantain.
Persimmon & fragrant flowers salad
The design of the space focuses on blurring the limits between the inner and outer spaces by using glass throughout and immersing the guest in a sort of urban garden environment that reminds that it is possible to a green haven amongst the concrete urban jungle. The open spaced dining room and kitchen are the perfect platforms to also showcase beautiful ceramic plates; oxidized metal cutlery and beautiful glassware that were sourced from local ateliers in Brazil in a nod to fine Brazilian craftsmanship.
There is also a sustainable focus: reducing waste. ‘30 per cent of everything that’s produced around the world ends up in waste bins. At TUJU they find ways to use all byproducts, things that would normally be trashed such as chicken and codfish skin or ugly-looking vegetables.