The clinical, all-white interior of Mimo calls to mind a laboratory. Which wouldn’t be a bad analogy for this restaurant in Jardins. Each dish on the whimsical menu is described with no more detail than a list of ingredients, invoking the same sort of curiosity – if you’re that way inclined – as might the instructions for a chemistry experiment, wondering how big the bang will be when the component parts are mixed together. The geeky gadgetry of contemporary cooking is here, too, in jellies, foams and sous vides that add playful flourishes to dishes without becoming their raison d’etre.
The space is long and thin, with well-groomed couples sitting side by side, more often than not, along one wall, facing the bar, while larger groups liven up the ambience down the back. Once your eyes adjust to the pervading white, small details come into focus – the copper finish covering the bar and the stable-sized front door; the delicate flower arrangements; and a striking tree encased in glass.
We weren’t offered the couvert, but happily slurped down the courtesy amuse-bouche – a small cup of perfectly seasoned vegetable soup. For starters, the ‘Lagosta. Burrata. Erva Doce. Mimosa’ (‘Lobster. Burrata. Fennel. Mimosa’, R$39) was an interesting mix of textures and flavours, with the ingredients attractively presented on a piece of slate; chunks of creamy burrata mozzarella, fresh orange and fennel slices, strips of lobster and – the only real let-down of the dish – cubes of mimosa (orange-and-sparkling-wine) jelly, that were neither smooth nor fizzy, but rather dense and grainy.
The ‘Purê de Mandioquinha. Pato. Foie Gras. Cogumelos’ (‘Baroa potato. Duck. Foie Gras. Mushrooms’, R$28) arrived as potato purée, shredded duck and mushrooms layered in a warm, comforting ensemble, though seemingly devoid of foie gras.
The main courses were less playful, but good, nonetheless; a tender filet mignon, with toasted brioche, asparagus spears, toasted crisps of cured ham, green leaves and an ovo perfeito – an egg poached to perfection for 45 minutes (R$46.50); and lamb ribs (a touch on the dry side) served with a Middle Eastern touch of zaatar spice mix, coalhada (milk curd), tahini and a mint sauce (R$61.50).
The desserts rounded things off on a high – a hot-to-frozen-to-warm layering of chocolate soufflé topped with a subtle cardamom ice cream and a fluffy, salty caramel foam (R$17); and a fruit-and-vegetable salad (R$17), with tiny chunks of carrot, cucumber, mango, kiwi and strawberry flecked with basil and parsley and topped with a zingy ball of passionfruit sorbet, all swimming in a melon consommé, poured over in a flourish at the table.