By Marisa Paska and Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporters
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Spanish Catalan-Brazilian fusion restaurant and Tapas bar Crustô opened its doors on August 19th in the heart of Ipanema and stands out with a bold interior design and sophisticated and unique menu. The eatery is the creation of Argentinian Gabriel Monti, a restaurateur who previously lived in the Catalan region.
Monti fell in love with Rio de Janeiro after his daughter, Flo Monti, married Carioca visual artist Daniel Bo, and started spending more time here. Three years later with the cooperation of all the three, Crustô opened its doors.
Walking by, one is immediately intrigued by Crustô with its eclectic design elements, which range from a Janis Joplin-esque silhouette on a full length mirror to a grey-scale geometric mural that combine to create an oddly inviting atmosphere.
The restaurant has been designed up to the last details, such as surrealist René Magritte-inspired bowler hat and apple lamps or the single red tea pot among the wineglasses hanging above the bar.
The art for the décor was created by Daniel Bo and his wife and design partner Flo Monti. The couple, also known as the artist team 02 Gatos, created all the artwork for Crustô down to the design of the business cards. All features of the restaurant were inspired by something that held significance to them.
Yet, the details aren’t just in the design, but also in the restaurant’s construction. Sustainable construction was used at all expense, as all of the lighting fixtures are energy saving and the kitchen itself a hundred percent electric.
Although the space is small, at only 60m2, its bold design choices aren’t the least overwhelming. The eatery currently features an open front, but according to Gabriel Monti, there are plans to create a glass wall before summer. “For the heat,” he explains.
With the recent opening, some central pieces to the design have not arrived yet, such as the mounting piece for the central mirror. Also a final wall piece opposite of the 02 Gatos geometric masterpiece is planned – a full wall sticker designed to resemble a chalk drawing with various different Crustô-inspired designs.
Crustô’s culinary creations match the interior design, as Gabriel Monti spent ten months studying and researching the market to find and create food and drink offerings that were a true mix of Catalan and Brazilian dishes. The range goes from contemporary tapas to elaborate fish and meat dishes.
Monti is also particularly proud of the drink offerings, which include açai caipirinha and a reserve Leblon cachaça, which spends two years in France maturing in brandy bottles before it is shipped back to Brazil.
However, Crustô’s ownership team has also had to face the Brazil cost, when opening up their business. “Everyone says Rio has changed so much. It probably has, but it is still changing. There are so many things that we’ve been dealing with that no one told us about,” Monti explained.
Certainly local residents are happy for the new energy the restaurant brings, between the fun and eccentric interior design, and the sophisticated culinary offering.
Crustô restaurant and tapas bar
Vinícius de Morais, 72 – Ipanema, RJ
Open Sunday-Wednesday 12PM-12AM, Thursday-Saturday 12PM-2AM
Tel: +55 (21) 2179-9516