One To Watch Award 2017

Oro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Chef Felipe Bronze creates culinary gold with a Rio de Janeiro flavour

Felipe Bronze has found in the kitchen a way to satisfy his restless nature while expressing his various interests and talents. Constantly challenging his own concepts, the Rio de Janeiro-born chef is the king of reinvention, so it’s no surprise he felt compelled to reopen his successful restaurant, Oro, within a few years of its launch in 2010.

Oro, meaning gold in Portuguese (albeit with the Spanish spelling), is a play on the chef’s surname, and the restaurant is a reflection of Bronze’s identity as a carioca, or native of Rio. Located just off the beach in Rio’s trendy Leblon district, Oro is colourful, informal and luxurious all at the same time – just like cariocas.

When Bronze closed the restaurant for a brief period and relocation last year, he decided to reopen it with a newfound focus on fire, a hark back to his culinary roots. While all his dishes are still undoubtedly works of art, the chef says he is happier now to focus less on aesthetics and more on food that is simple, delicious and fun.

There are two menu options at Oro: Creativity, a daily-changing menu focused on seasonal ingredients found that day at the market, and the shorter Affectivity menu, focusing on two signature dishes. All courses are eaten only with the hands, except for the 48-hour braised ox ribs with banana farofa (a crumbly toasted cassava flour mixture) and smoked yolk. It’s a take on a traditional Brazilian churrasco or barbecue dish.

Other dishes include cod tapioca and a dessert of pumpkin, coconut and almonds. Drinks pairings are expertly managed by Bronze’s wife, the award-winning sommelier Cecilia Aldaz, who also runs the dining room. Considered by many the best sommelier in Rio, Aldaz matches Bronze’s dishes with exciting wines, artisan beers, rare cachaças and signature cocktails.

Something of a celebrity chef in Brazil, Bronze hosts the TV shows O Mago da Cozinha, Que Seja Doce and The Taste Brasil. He is also author of Felipe Bronze: Brazilian Vanguard Cuisine and the soon-to-be-published second cookbook, By The Fire.

While the chef trained at the renowned Culinary Institute of America in New York and began his career in restaurants such as Nobu and Le Bernardin, he has spent most of his life in Rio. It is the carioca identity that really shines through in Oro 2.0, from snacks that pay homage to the city’s iconic street dishes to local cachaças and a relaxed yet sophisticated vibe. With its recent revamp and the focus on flames, Oro is hotter than a summer’s day in Rio.

Rua General San Martin, 889
Leblon
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
+55 (21) 2540 8768
ororestaurante.com.br

The One To Watch Award celebrates a restaurant that is likely to enter the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list in future years. The winner is chosen by the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants organisation from a list of restaurants outside the list that have received votes in the most recent round of voting.

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