Chef Claude Troisgros is a culinary superstar. Known throughout Brazil, France and the rest of the world for his creativity and delivery of haute cuisine, Mr. Troisgros is someone who can take your night from good to extraordinarily delicious. He owns several restaurants throughout the city of Rio de Janeiro, all with fabulous reputations. And, for over 30 years, the shining jewel in his culinary crown has been Olympe.
The restaurant, on a busy street near the lagoon, is a respite of calm and elegance in the neighborhood. Entering, you feel an opportunity to rest and indulge in food that is taken very seriously. I was seated in the corner at a beautiful table lit dimly with hanging canned lanterns. The mood here is sophisticated but relaxed enough to have a good time.
Once seated, I was welcomed by chef Troisgros, a friendly man with a wide grin – he had a face of someone I’d known for a long time. He offered the traditional menu for our choosing, but suggested the degustation menu as presented by the chef. What a smart choice. The menu was a delicate combination of Brazilian ingredients and dishes, with French influences.
Homemade breads were served with a soft French butter. Each piece was delectable, including the restaurant’s take on local puffed crackers made of water, yeast and salt – often sold on Rio’s beaches under the brand “Globo”. Chef Troisgros seasoned his with curry. Soon, our first course came, an amuse-bouche of local mushroom consume. Rare tuna was cubed and mixed with roasted beets. This preluded scallops from Angra dos Reis glazed with dulce de leche. Crispy suckling pig, roasted for hours, was up next. It was served with sliced apple – all so tender you could cut it with your spoon.
As the night went on, crispy apple, sliced very thin, sandwiched a dollop of truffled ice cream – a surprisingly delicious moment. Dessert followed.
Spending two hours at Olympe was a true pleasure – a moment in time where I could indulge my inner foodie. It’s not easy to find such culinary splendors and such a commitment to using ingredients sourced wholly from Brazil. It all came together beautifully, including the international wine pairing designed by the resident sommelier. This restaurant cannot be missed, truly, as there really is nothing else like it in Rio.