Delicate dishes using local ingredients in a homely setting
Set in a former house in São Paulo’s leafy Jardim Paulistano suburb, Maní is immediately welcoming with its outdoor patio centred on a beautiful tree. Large wooden front doors open on to a long, white corridor decorated with contemporary art, where diners can enjoy close-up views of chefs Daniel Redondo and Helena Rizzo’s kitchen. Beyond the white-washed corridor, a cosy main dining room and a tree-lined outdoor courtyard with wooden benches make for a relaxed, homely eating experience in a city where fine dining too often feels pretentious.
Brazilian-born Rizzo has developed her reputation since opening Maní with Redondo in 2006, winning both the title of Veuve Clicquot Latin America’s Best Female Chef in 2013 and World’s Best Female Chef last year. Her career was founded on a firm footing – she met Redondo in his native Spain while working at the world-renowned El Celler de Can Roca.
The chefs make great use of Brazilian ingredients, with dishes including a gazpacho of jabuticaba (a grape-like fruit) with cachaça-steamed crayfish, pickled cauliflower and amburana nuts, and fresh catch of the day with bananas, home-made manioc flour crumble and tucupí (a sauce extracted from wild Amazonian manioc root). Appetisers include delicate mouthfuls such as foie gras ‘bonbons’ with Brazilian guava jam presented on porcelain spoons, and thin-cut potato crisps with roast beef and Dijon mustard.