Rock star chef puts Brazilian gastronomy on the world map
What's it all about? Former punk and DJ Alex Atala ripped up the rule book in true rock 'n' roll style when he set up D.O.M. in 1999, fusing fine dining with wild and wonderful ingredients from the Amazon basin.
Typical dishes: Native ingredients are a hallmark of D.O.M., from jambú, a herb that creates a tingling sensation on the tongue, to Atala's now world-famous use of ants. Highlights include heart-of-palm fettuccine with butter, sage and popcorn powder and milk pudding flavoured with priprioca, an aromatic root previously used in the cosmetics industry.
What's the vibe? High ceilings, slick service and a soothing cream-and-taupe colour scheme make for a pleasantly relaxed space, allowing the vibrant food to take centre stage.
Other ventures: Atala's less formal restaurant Dalva e Dito and bar Riviera, both in São Paulo, were recently joined by Açougue Central (Central Butchery), a restaurant and butcher's shop serving lesser-known cuts of meat, cooked on a huge charcoal grill.
What's in a name? D.O.M. stands for Deo Optimo Maximo, which translates as 'To God, The Good, The Great'. The Benedictine motto was often used to indicate places where weary pilgrims could eat and rest.