Roberta Sudbrack. Brazil’s foremost female chef
When in Rio, I had the chance to experience the 9 course tasting experience in the restaurant of the most critically acclaimed female chef in Brazil, Roberta Sudbrack.
She is known to be the first female chef who cooked for a Brazilian president. With her skill in keeping dishes rich and en point, combining a high-end French bistro with Brazilian flair. She likes to work with lighter flavors and simpler ingredients, nothing too overpowering so that every dish can be appreciated without adumbrating the next.
Her prices are steep, too much for what is offered. Unless of course you’re a local in the know and you call in early for a special plate which changes daily, when I went the dish was a simple hamburger with fries, with it’s gourmet flair of course.
Without further ado, the tasting!
The burrata and lardo covered the tongue in a decadent lipid blanket allowing for the onion bouillon (poured tableside) to penetrate it, dancing with the milk flavors, to only be but a sideshow compared to the refreshment of the perfectly ripe pear slices.
The powder around the crayfish helped the smoke flavor with cumin and cayenne (spices very common in Brazilian cuisine) it was cooked so precisely that once you pierced the gummy flesh with your teeth, it would dissolve like ice cream.
When I inquired to what “Fish-Meat” was, the waiter said, “It’s fish, that we cook like meat” cooked to a medium rare, smoky with a bed of neutral canjica allowing for the mustard greens to give it a slight kick in the garden direction on a soft, creamy cloud.
The grouper was soft and buttery, but when I read “burnt onion” I wasn’t expected caramelized ones, and for their flavor to overpower the intriguing yet fleeting ubiety of the smoked pumpkin skin bouillon.
This local compilation of meats and chorizos made up into a traditional Spanish dish called “Arroz caldoso.” You could differentiate each grain with ease and every bite felt as if it came with a delectable taste of broth.
The lamb was sweet and soft, surprisingly low key flavor which is different yet greatly appreciated when it comes to lamb. There are strong attempts in this dish to keep it with the “light, refreshing” theme of the meal. The white polenta and kale add that joyful simplicity that is the Sudbrack style.
Finally to top it all off, the dessert course. I was dishearted to see that her banana ice cream was not on the menu, but her “Rice, tomato, sweet..” was nothing short of spectacular. It was a traditional rice pudding, toped with a tomato confit and a lemongrass and ginger syrup. The agro-acidic flavors diluted themselves in the rice pudding, adding a comfortable finish to the whole thing.
Overall I was impressed by the food, but when the bill came I didn’t feel as if I got what I paid for. If I were to go again, I think I would just do as the Romans and order that burger.