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The remarkably well preserved pomp and ceremony of Flamengo's incongruously palatial Casa Julieta de Serpa is back with a refined flick of a silk tablecloth thanks to the reopening of the house restaurant, Paris. Appropriately named, the crystal chandeliers and European marble finish might be its calling card, but the menu has been given a new lease of life in an attemot to put Flamengo on the culinary map.
Arriving on the second floor of the 1920s maison the view over Flamengo park to the beach isn't all that belies the fact that France remains thousands of miles away. Zebra sofas are among the unfortunate and misguided attempts at modernising touches, more successfully deployed behind the bar where mixologist Alex Mesquita conjures up a Dry Martini complete with olive 'perfume' and the flamboyant Exotique - Goose L'Orange vodka, Calvados, rosemary, lime and agave nectar.
Starting with the rich treat of Profiteroles de Foie Gras with Périgord truffles (R$48), they sit in stark contrast to the salmon 'a moda sashimi' - cured and served with apple slices and wasabi mousse, showing chef Pierre Landry is a man clearly hitting his creative stride in this home from home. Main courses are equally determined not to follow any geographic predictability, with Amazonian filhote fish served with a light bacon crust (R$72) alongside conchiglione filled with shrimp and rocket pesto. Equally worldly is the list of wines, running from Greek to Austrian and Lebanese, under the guiding eye of sommelier Paulo Nocolay.
Try to avoid converting the prices into Euros and instead sink back into a touch of refined Paris with the unmistakable boldness of Brazil firmly stamped upon it.
23 Aug 2012.