Two years after the contracts were signed, ‘London’s first truly modern Brazilian’ is here
When Mocotó opened its doors last week in the site that formerly housed Oliver Peyton's Isola, owner David Ponté, founder of Momo, must have breathed a rather large sigh of relief.
Much has been made of the delay in opening what the people behind it are touting as "London's fi rst truly modern Brazilian", but it's now been two years since contracts were signed, something which has not gone unnoticed in restaurant land.
So much so, in fact, that a delayed opening is now known in this offi ce as "doing a Mocoto". Could it just be coincidence then that Mocotó is, apparently, a term used to compliment a person on a show of courage or guts, which Ponté must have needed in spades? It's also the name of a traditional Brazilian consommé, so take your pick.
Although the interior has been completely stripped out to make way for 100 per cent Brazilian imported furniture (indeed its transport is cited as one of the major reasons for the delays), it retains the same basic functions as Isola in that the 112-cover restaurant proper is downstairs while at street level there are 80 seats (32 at a long, tiled table designed for communal breakfasts and lunches) in the Brazilian bar or boteco.
Innovative Sao Paulo architect Isay Weinfeld has overseen the interior as his fi rst major project outside of Brazil. The ceiling is made of hundreds of narrow tree trunks and there's a hand-laid wooden fl oor made from reclaimed cinnamon and iron wood throughout. Restaurant chairs are original Sergio Rodriguez pieces in jacaranda wood.
Head Chef Darryl Healey is an Englishman, formerly Chef de Cuisine at the Grand Café of the Grand Hyatt, with mooted Brazilian chefs Bel Coelho and Laurent Suaudeau falling by the wayside as the months ticked by. That said, the rest of Healey's kitchen team is Brazilian and the menu certainly ticks all the boxes for use of authentic ingredients. The lunch menu consists of sharing dishes, including Camarao (sautéed king prawns with mango, chilli and coriander at £5.50, Bolinho de Bacalhau (salted cod fi sh croquettes) at £4.25 and Salada Palmito (hearts of palm salad grilled with pumpkin) at £3.50. The evening menu unveils Brazilian steak cut Picancha (£21), which comes thick and on the rare side, with Cassava Fries and instructions to dip the fat in the Farofa (fi nely ground meal).
To start there's Goats' Cheese, Guava Jelly, Fig Salad at £7.50 and Caldinho de Feijão (traditional black bean soup with bacon, kale and diver scallops) at £8.50 and Quindim (coconut macaroon and parfait with egg yolk ice cream) at £7.
Upstairs, the bar serves Batidas – Brazilian cocktails using indigenous ingredients – from pequi and jabuticaba to guarana. Brazilian wines are imported from the country's Miolo vineyards.
Mocotó is, fi nally, well and truly open for business.
Where? | 145 Knightsbridge, London SW1.
020 7225 2300 mocoto.co.uk