Home Opinion New in Rio, Balcão brings Israeli street food to Copacabana

New in Rio, Balcão brings Israeli street food to Copacabana

New in Rio, Balcão brings Israeli street food to Copacabana

who walk by Copacabana , in the south zone of Rio de Janeiro, specifically on Rua Francisco Otaviano, you will find a novelty on the corner of Raul Pompeia that is far from being just gastronomic. O Counter 🇧🇷 israeli restaurant which bears in its name exactly its proposal – a simple counter with five stools distributed along its length -, has a lot of history, dreams and culture behind its inauguration, which took place in October of this year.

The story

Zion Fadlon heads the names of the new space. Enchanted by Brazil, the Israeli in love with street food from Middle East decided that the Rio de Janeiro it would have been her home 12 years ago. He arrived to stay for three months and is still there today, with an Argentinian wife and a “carioca” daughter.

After spending a year and a half living in hostels in the city, he felt the lack of something better for those seeking the service. So, she decided to plan and open the first “boutique hostel” in Rio in 2012, Discovery, in Glória.

Over the years, after being very successful with the first venture, he began to develop the dream of having his first restaurant in Wonderful city. He wanted to combine quality food at an affordable price, something he also missed in his years as a resident of Rio. opened the Explorer Bar and Restaurant, in Santa Teresa, which also walks very well to this day.

Last year Zion’s two partners in the projects, an American and a Chilean, decided to sell their shares. Life put two others in his path: the Frenchman Marin Lesot, a former investment banker specializing in new technologies, and the chef from São Gonçalo Rodrigo Sant’Anna with passages in renowned restaurants, such as Aprazível, and commander of Birosca, also in Santa Teresa.

one more dream

This meeting took place right at the time when the entrepreneur wanted to put another old dream into practice: opening a counter to serve israeli street food 🇧🇷 Zion had worked in restaurants in all capacities in his country before and knew exactly how he wanted to apply his wishes.

“My real passion is street food. Whenever I travel, I like to eat right on the streets, and Middle Eastern food, for me, is the best in the world. Real food, nothing too sophisticated, but very satisfying, in the best style. comfort food“, he emphasizes.

“The three of us got together, each with their own vision, and decided to open the Balcão. The idea is to meet the carioca lifestyle, which loves to talk, eat and drink on the street. I wanted to do something with a lot of passion and the three of us have that profile”, he adds.

Zion and Rodrigo then decided to test the menu. With recipes from family and friends, the Israeli was the thermometer to understand whether that food would take him back to Tel Aviv, his hometown. And the result was surprising.

“We started doing tests in our kitchens. We were really excited about the project. I took family cookbooks and Rodrigo started to develop. I would experiment and make corrections to make the flavor as authentic as possible. I was very happy with the result. I had no idea it could be so close to the original. Those who go to the counter will find the true flavors of Israel. With each passing day we work to get even closer to what is found there”, he emphasizes.

Rodrigo Sant’ Anna, on the other hand, is a chef with more than 20 years of experience. He has worked in renowned kitchens and has extensive experience as a consultant chef. He was happy and excited about the project. He was not familiar with the type of kitchen and also celebrates the result of the daring project.

“On the day I sat down with Zion and Marin, I listened attentively, but I didn’t doubt anything during the project. It seemed that he was already feeling the potential of the idea. It’s been really amazing to do all of this. The menu is the result of a lot of research, laboratory and tests”, she points out.

What will the customer find at the Counter? culture and gastronomy

Without ceremony and with a young spirit, the house occupies a charming space on the corner of Francisco Otaviano and Raul Pompeia streets. She seeks to bring the street food experience of the Middle East, represented by spices and seasonings. The protagonist is the pita bread 🇧🇷 Located next to an Israeli hostel, it has already won over a clientele made up mostly of foreigners.

As in the street markets, also inspired by the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, the experience literally starts at the counter, where the customer chooses his order and closely follows the preparation of the recipe.

On the menu, recipes in pita bread such as Chapawarma, a Balcão version of the traditional shawarma, prepared with thin strips of meat seasoned with smoked paprika, accompanied by cabbage salad with tomato, onion, and sauce (R$ 16); the classic Kebab of Romanian Origin, very similar to kafta made with grilled beef, accompanied by tomato and red onion with sumac (R$ 27); the Chicken with Okra, with smoked drumstick, hummus, salad and house-made okra pickles (R$18); the Smashzinho, prepared with beef shoulder, house cucumber pickles, coalho cheese, salad and garlic aioli (R$ 27), among other delicacies.

In the vegetarian wing, Pita Falafel are the well-known fried chickpea dumplings with spices. They are served with house cucumber pickles and Israeli salad (R$25)

Another option is the Sabich (R$ 25), an Israeli sandwich with roasted eggplant, boiled egg, red cabbage, Israeli salad, parsley, tahini, hummus and amba sauce – originally from South India, which spread along the route of merchants from sea ​​until Iraqi cuisine arrived and became popular.

To snack and order in portions, whole roasted Cauliflower, prepared with olive oil, tahini and salt (R$ 28); Fried Potato Balls, with Sicilian lemon zest, oregano and salt (R$ 12) and Canned Potato Balls, with bay leaf, garlic, parsley and red pepper (R$ 12). The hummus can also be ordered separately, accompanied by pita bread, olive oil, spices and parsley.

To drink, try Pomegranate Soda (R$10), very superstitious and traditional in the Middle East, and Lemon Soda (R$10), as well as soft drinks and beer.

There, the client will be able to take a short trip to Israel, including listening to typical local music.

Counter: Rua Francisco Otaviano, 52 – Copacabana – Rio de Janeiro – RJ / Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 12h to 21h.

Source: CNN Brasil



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