Ovo was once an ordinary cafe. It did takeaway banana bread, toast and all the regular coffee orders. Then, on a whim, the cafe’s Brazilian owner, Ralphy Lasmar, decided to whip up a batch of bolo de cenoura (fried chicken and potato dumplings) and coxinha (carrot cake). Now most of Ovo’s customers are fellow South Americans who travel to get dishes they can’t find anywhere else in the city.
The most classic of all dishes is feijoada, a mixed-plate dish of black beans stewed with sausages, smoked pork, ground cassava, garlicky kale (couve), salsa and fresh orange. It’s the most popular order, but many Brazilians come to Ovo to eat the regional dishes from their hometowns; Ovo serves the most famous dish from each region. From the north-east there’s the rich tomato-and-fish stew called moqueca. And from the south-east, frango caipira, with juicy herb-encrusted roast chicken and cheesy polenta.
For breakfast there are cakes such as the brigadeiro, a chocolate ball made with condensed milk. And Pingado, a butter-soaked baguette served with coffee and cream cheese. There are also tapioca crepes.
On Sunday Ovo does a breakfast buffet with coffee, usually sweet, made with a cloth filter. Some nights it operates as a Caipirinha-slinging bar.