Tuju restaurant review - São Paulo, Brazil
His career started in his mother’s kitchen, aged seven and has seen him clock up stints at an esteemed flock of local and international restaurants from Brazil’s Maní to Mugaritz in Spain. Now, chef Ivan Ralston has finally taken the plunge and gone solo with a new dining room that celebrates his combined passion for contemporary cuisine and locally sourced ingredients- in this case from just upstairs. Comprising its own rooftop greenhouse, which produces a fair portion of the herbs and vegetables found in the restaurant’s dishes, Tuju gives new credence to the concept of farm-to-table dining, and offers a succinct and playful menu that blends traditional Brazilian dishes with global flavours. Located in Vila Madalena, the boho-chic neighbourhood in western São Paulo, the restaurant has been designed by local architects Vapor 324, who have created an industrial yet warm space with a contemporary edge. Highlights include custom-designed lighting fixtures by São Paulo-based firm NeuteChvaicer and modern artwork by Marilá Dardot. Outside, a mural of the restaurant’s namesake by artist Deco Farkas looms large; the native bird is nocturnal, making it a cheeky backdrop for the buzzing outdoor lounge area. Here, try The Last Word- a gin tipple infused with lemon, green chartreuse and maraschino.