Closed during the pandemic, the internationally renowned restaurant Tuju has resumed operations with another incarnation. While chef Ivan Ralston waits to reopen the house in another location, the same location has been hosting Tujuína since September – a version with a more informal concept, a more familiar and warm intention, but with the same culinary vision.
And what point of view is that? After refining his training during business trips around the world, Ralston produces a melting pot of influences that point to Brazil, or more precisely São Paulo, as a benchmark.
A multiple São Paulo, with layers that point in different directions. The most solid is the geographical situation, since Tujuína takes as a reference ingredients brought from different regions of the state itself.
The raw material is amalgamated in flavors which take up several traditions. It can be the country cuisine of ancestors or that of immigrants, Brazilian or not.
Liane’s marinated horse mackerel (R $ 38), for example, evokes the pickled herring of Jewish families – like that of Ralston. There the fish has a strong marinade softened with a potato salad, which gives delicacy. The accompanying crackling toast is special.
Pork knee, butter, pumpkin, tahini and sauerkraut (R $ 108) is a mosaic of references. The meat, like beans, could come from certain hinterlands of Brazil, but also, along with sauerkraut, remind the German community, not to mention the Lebanese, who love tahini so much.
The result is a provocative blend of flavors, although at times contradictory. But maybe there is a lack of connection with Brazilian tradition.
From the acquisitions of the coast are born exciting recipes, with provocative spices. See starters like mussels with peppers and coriander (R $ 46). As main, the grilled grouper with banana vinaigrette (148 R $): the fish has the scales removed, fried and replaced, an intense flavor that contrasts with the delicacy of the meat.
Surprises can occur at an appetizer that looks like farmhouse capoeira, but also brings the sea – the paw egg with canjiquinha, ora-pro-nobis and hedgehog cream (R $ 56). But a familiar reference comes from Italian migration: artichoke ravioli (R $ 58), topped with bottarga zest, orange strips and sage leaves.
Vegetarians can help themselves to dishes that value ingredients, such as tomatoes seasoned with black garlic and tucupi (R $ 55) and cauliflower with romesco sauce, grilled onions and chard (R $ 68 ).
An iconic dessert of the house has its origins in the days of Tuju – in the current version, pingado (R $ 32) is a latte of different textures. It’s such a heartwarming ending as the cornbread toast with paçoca ice cream (R $ 28).
The idea of serving more elaborate dishes than those on the old tasting menu, with the intention of being shared, is still friendly. But it still bothers me too, because it separates who is alone when visiting the house.
If on a hungry and unaccompanied day – which can happen to anyone, especially singles and food critics – you decide to go for a blanket, snacks, entrees, entrees and desserts. , you will be punished by too much food (and price). How about there are options for the solitary foodie as well?