Discover Ara, a dessert-only restaurant in SP that mixes chocolate and mushrooms

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Discover Ara, a dessert-only restaurant in SP that mixes chocolate and mushrooms

Nathalia Durval

It only prepares sweets, but it is not confectionery. Ara, which has just opened its doors in Pinheiros, aims to be a restaurant that has desserts as the main dish.

Such establishments have already become a trend in cities like New York, but have not yet established themselves in Brazil. In São Paulo, Ara, run by pastry chef Rodrigo Ribeiro, is the first representative of its kind.

Terrarium, one of the sweets at Ara, a dessert restaurant in Pinheiros

Terrarium, one of the sweets at Ara, a dessert restaurant in Pinheiros – Disclosure

There, customers sit at a wooden counter, facing the kitchen, or at small tables in the lounge. The chef prepares and serves his creations while explaining each one, like an omakassê, the Japanese tasting menu.

Desserts combine sweet, bitter, sour and even savory flavors, which means that the sequence is not cloying and is worth a meal. Brazilian ingredients are the protagonists, most of them organic, purchased from small producers and used entirely.

One of the examples is the so-called yellow green, with a refreshing and citrus profile, assembled with honey and cumaru panacota, olive oil crumble, more basil oil and, on top, meringue. Passion fruit appears in different preparations: a jelly, a sorbet and a powder that also includes mango. The seeds of the fruit are also used.

The terrarium, a sweet treat that arrives on the table in a glass cup, as if it were a plant aquarium, has already been a hit on social media. The recipe has earthy flavors and uses black cocoa powder, more bitter, chocolate ganache with sage, cambuci gel and spongy yerba mate dough. It also has raw portobello mushrooms, pancs and branches made from 70% chocolate.

Ribeiro gives sweets the same treatment he would give to a savory restaurant dish: he produces all the bases, such as creams and pasta. He, who is also a confectionery teacher, worked in places such as DOM, Maní, Oro and Petí — there, he created new desserts every 20 days.

According to the chef, another element that differentiates the restaurant from a conventional sweet shop is the service. There, desserts are assembled and plated on the spot, served on a tasting menu or à la carte.

Both the yellow green and the terrarium are part of the tasting menu, offered in a five-step version, for R$ 150 — the price is fixed, but the option can be shared by two people. It is possible to pair it with a non-alcoholic drink (R$ 165) or an alcoholic drink (R$ 180). The complete tasting, for R$199, adds five chocolates to the sequence. Individually, the sweets cost from R$29 to R$39.

All chocolates are handmade and also sold in bars. A machine spins non-stop, for around three days, a mixture based on cocoa nibs and cocoa butter, grown by a producer in Bahia, and perfumes the room.

In addition, the pastry chef prepares ready-made cookies, brownies, brigadeiros and truffles. To accompany, there are kombuchas from Cia. dos Fermentados, beers from Dádiva and wines chosen by sommelière Gabriela Monteleone.

The menu is seasonal and changes frequently. What does it have to do with the name, Ara, which in Guarani means time.

Ara
R. Simão Álvares, 421, Pinheiros, western region, WhatsApp (11) 93941-0971, @restaurantedesobremesas. Mon to Sat, from 12pm to 7pm

Source: Folha

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