By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Nestled towards the beach end of Rua Farme de Amoedo, one of Ipanema’s liveliest streets, comes a new addition to Rio’s bar and restaurant scene. O Bardo has been open for just two months but already has a growing following thanks to its inviting menu and eclectic cocktails.
For French owners Emmanuel Joffre and Laurent Lilti, O Bardo is their first restaurant and bar project in Rio and, thanks to the advice of Brazilian partner and experienced restaurateur Felipe Cardias, things are going well.
Joffre explains, “We were searching for someone to invest and when Felipe came along it felt right to go ahead.”
For two blocks Rua Farme de Amoedo is lined on both sides of the street with restaurants, so the trio had their work cut out for them creating something that stood out against the competition. The ‘modern European’ menu mixes bits of French cuisine, such as Lilti’s grandmother’s risotto recipe, and Caribbean flavors courtesy of Joffre’s heritage.
However, it isn’t just the food that has been enticing customers. The restaurant also employs a team of superbly trained cocktail mixers who, Joffre promises, can make just about any cocktail requested, even if it is not on the menu.
Lilti agrees, adding, “Every day we are finding new flavors and coming up with weird and wonderful combinations.” This is particularly true of the Gorgonzola martini and the Jack the Farmer cocktail which comes with a side of bacon.
As well as great food and intriguing drinks, the décor is important for setting the tone of the place. Under Liltis direction, O Bardo has been designed to reflect the fun and flirty aspects of the menu and the Ipanema neighborhood in general.
Laid back yet stylish, O Bardo is the perfect place to unwind after a day relaxing on the beach or spent shopping, and also provides the right ambiance for an evening meal and late night drinks.
“We want to make something that appeals to everybody,” says Joffre, who insists that O Bardo does not have a target audience. He adds, “The idea is that at lunch time we have a laid back atmosphere and at night we up the tempo a bit. Sometimes we have a DJ playing.”
When asked what drew him to Brazil and Rio in particular, Lilti replies, “I had been working in bars and restaurants back home in France and came to Rio on holiday and fell in love with the city. I liked it so much I forgot to go back.”
The duo admitted coming across hurdles in the initial stages of opening but, Joffre jokes, “The bureaucratic situation here is similar to France so it was not stressful for us.”
Grateful for O Bardo’s success so far, the team is confident that the future will be good. Joffre maintains, “We just want to create something everyone likes and food and drinks that keep bringing them back.”
What: O Bardo
Where: Rua Farme de Amoedo 39
Tel: (21) 3734-2776