The flavours and colours of Barulho
September 25, 2018
Situated just four doors down from our Faraday Street showroom, we couldn’t not introduce you to this little gem that we frequent often.
The heart of Barulho stems from Nico and Sarah, whom partner each other in both life and business. Sarah is Barulhos head chef, Nico says he is still in awe of Sarah in the kitchen. . . ‘the way she understands food, the chemical reactions, combination of flavours, she is such a talent and my greatest teacher.’
Barulho opened its door just over a year ago, with a real emphasis on fresh produce, using techniques in cooking to enhance and celebrate seasonal flavours. With two to three deliveries a day of fresh produce. Sarah says having limited storage space is a challenge and a blessing, ‘everything is prepped as it arrives and used that day.’ Sarah delights at the new season. Spring provides an array of exciting fresh ingredients to play with. Small weekly changes to the menu are determined on what produce is at its best and needs to be celebrated that week. The Menu is completely changed every two months.
I am instantly transported when I step foot in Barulho, I could be in a little European town, at a local restaurant. Straight away upon arrival you are aware of the emphasis on fresh seasonal produce. There are wire baskets full of citrus, lemons and limes, a collection of peppers in varying colours, ripe tomatoes, fresh vibrant basil and pots of guacamole. The outdoor courtyard is adorned with hanging fairy lights, wrapped around surrounding trees. The walls inside are a mix of turquoise and existing old brick with rich velvet cushions on the chairs. It is a place that delights the senses.
When I asked Nico, who designed Barulho? I was further amazed to find out Sarah and Nico designed the interior themselves. 'We custom made everything. I built most of it myself, from tiling all walls and floors upstairs, to retaining and building the back garden.' Barulho is a true reflection of who Sara and Nico are and where they come from.
Nico, what is your favourite dish that Barulho offers?
Ceviche – served with red onion, cucumber, mango, lemon, lime and coriander.
I am really looking forward to Watermelon season also – watermelon slices served with soft cheese, topped with crispy roasted pepitas.
Sarah, what is a Barulho favourite at the moment?
Fish of the day! At the moment, we are serving fish with a chorizo paste, chickpeas and new season asparagus.
Nico, tell me about your culinary roots?
Nico lived in Uruguay where he worked alongside Argentine Chef, Francis Mallmann. Francis is known for his various methods of barbequing foods. A lot of his food is cooked over fire, simple, raw and rustic. He has an interesting way of cooking where he burns and chars to enhance flavours. Nico still pulls inspiration from this style of cooking, caramelizing and burning, it holds juices while intensifying natural flavours.
As I visited Barulho today, Nico was making Alfajores (a traditional biscuit from Uruguay), drizzling melted chocolate upon whipped peanut butter, marshmallow and quince. All of Barulhos magic is created right in front of your eyes in their open kitchen. Sweet treats I’m told, is Nico’s specialty.
Sarah, tell me about your culinary roots?
I have always been a head chef; my inspiration and knowledge comes from travelling.
Nico and Sarah’s favourite place to go is Mexico. ‘It is vibrant, alive and the food is amazing. Our favourite thing to eat in Mexico is the seafood and our favourite place in Mexico is the old town San Miguel.’ Nico speaks of the colours of this town, ‘there is a law in place in which you cannot paint the exterior of your house any neutral tones, you must select and paint it a certain colour. All the houses are so colourful! At 12pm at night the streets and restaurants are still bustling and busy.’
Where are you travelling to next?
‘New Caledonia is our next trip. Not food based just to relax!’ Nico explains, they love what they do so much that they are still trying to find that balance, to switch off for a day.
Where does the inspiration come from when creating a new dish?
'It’s all based around the produce which is delivered.' Sarah says, ‘they do love reading cook books, they might even discover a single flavour that they pull inspiration from.’ Nico says ‘they are always bouncing ideas off each other, in the car, at home, we don’t test our ideas we just make them happen. If they are not received well then we stop creating that dish.’
Their creative process together is really organic, trusting in their knowledge of flavours. Nico says ‘everything is their interpretation, you will see our individual twist on classics, everything is created to be modern with a point of difference. Of course, we also have to find a balance in what people will recognize.’
Tell me more about your current menu?
‘It’s all a balance and dance between textures and flavours, smooth, crunchy, spicy and sweet.’ I note the play of textures as I explore the menu. The menu is designed with sharing plates big and small. There is no entree or main. The dishes come as they come and they keep coming. It is designed to be a ‘family’ oriented way of eating and sharing, encouraging you to connect, laugh, drink and have a good time’
Thank you for your time Sarah and Nico, we feel so lucky to share Faraday street with you and love the food you create. We highly recommend a visit to our friends at Barulho.
All photographs by photographer Alex McVinnie
Monday - Closed
Tuesday to Friday - 11am to late
Saturday and Sunday - 3pm to late