Thanks to new year dieting, the effects of post-Christmas budgeting, or just the desire to be hunkered down at home on a dark winter’s night, there seems to be an unwritten rule that January is not for dining out. It feels churlish to deny this small indulgence at a time when even the simplest pleasures seem hard to come by, though. Thus I persuade a friend that we should punctuate a day of sales shopping with a proper lunch pause.
Moments from Bond Street, and a mere hop, skip and a jump from Selfridges, Bossa could not be better placed. The Vere Street eatery was opened by Alberto Landgraf early last summer, going on to receive a coveted mention in the Michelin Guide.
Its success is unsurprising – the Brazilian-born chef proprietor holds not one, but two Michelin stars for his Rio de Janeiro restaurant, Oteque. He has entrusted the kitchen here to head chef Nilson Chaves, who worked with him for many years at Oteque and brings a contemporary spin to the menu. While evenings can get pricey, a more accessible new lunch menu offers three courses for just £45, and it is this that has drawn us in out of the drizzle.
Upon stepping through the doors we are struck by how calm Bossa feels – it is a world away from the frenzy that we have left behind on Oxford Street. Perfectly pitched lighting, warm wood, and a glowing, earthy colour palette lend the space an understated elegance. A long cocktail bar stretches across the floorto- ceiling windows that look out onto the street, providing an attractive buffer from the buzz outside.
We are shown to one of four central tables, where we settle ourselves on the luxuriously soft leather bench seats. Here, we have an uninterrupted view of the open kitchen and its churrasco grill, which is set behind counter seating along the back wall. Forget the high tensions of Boiling Point, the calm vibe continues here, with the team scurrying around quietly, skilfully putting dishes together with minimum fuss.
We treat ourselves to a brilliantly Brazilian Caipirinha made with Weber Haus Cachaça Branca that tastes like summer in a glass. Starters arrive quickly, and are exquisitely presented – colourful roasted beets, creamy goat’s cheese and green leaves feel at once indulgent and virtuous. We scrape the plates clean, all the while watching our mains being prepared over the flaming grill in front of us. We’ve chosen to share chicken and sea bass.
The former comes with polenta and vinaigrette – a Brazilian salsa-like salad, made here with sweetcorn. The latter, meanwhile, is served with vatapá – a creamy Afro-Brazilian seafood stew – and deliciously piquant pickled Romanesco. Both dishes are light and perfectly balanced – ideal for lunch. So light, indeed, that we have room for dessert, and our friendly waitress recommends we try the quindim, a traditional Brazilian coconut and egg custard. Vibrant orange in colour and surrounded in a crown of toasted coconut shards, it is quite the showstopper, and is deliciously sweet.
Special mention goes to the toilets, which are as chic as the restaurant and feature divine-smelling (and appropriately named) Bossa soap and hand cream from luxe Brazilian brand, Granado. The sun-soaked scent lingers for the rest of the day, reminding us of an utterly sensational lunch. We both agree that the team at Bossa are bossing it.