For some reason I’m rapidly gaining an unfounded reputation as a coffee snob, and café-hopping in Brazil is not helping.

I am surrounded by labels: Louis Vuitton, Alexandre Herchcovitch, Giorgio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Marc Jacobs, Reinaldo Lourenço. The only one I recognise and can afford is Havaianas, but somehow I suspect wearing a pair of flip-flops, even branded ones, isn’t the right apparel for coffee here.

Our friend Paowen tells us that Rua Oscar Freire is the Orchard Road of São Paulo. Thankfully there are far fewer cars and even fewer rabid shoppers out for the latest bargains. Instead this tree-lined street feels like an idealised Parisian boulevard where the locals are dressed immaculately and go about their day in an unhurried fashion. After all, where else would they rush off to? They are already here, and they are definitely waiting to be seen.

Neil, Paowen’s husband, passes his car keys to the valet after we tumble out of his Alfa Romeo. Parking can be a nightmare in the city and the Paulistanos are thus skilled almost from birth to manoeuvre their vehicles into the last square centimetre of available space. Better to let the professionals handle it.

There is usually a long line of customers waiting to get a table at Santo Grão, Paowen tells us, but today our lucky stars must be shining on us: we are seated within minutes. There is a light chill in the air and none of us smoke, yet it’s an outside table we all want.

One of the traditional activities of Rua Oscar Freire is people-watching and we weren’t about to miss out on the eye candy. Oscar Freire strikes me as not entirely beautiful in the classic sense (too man-made), but everyone sure is very pretty.

The coffee here at Santo Grão isn’t especially memorable. Perhaps the coffee itself is faultless, for how could it compete for attention against conversation amongst friends who have not seen each other in years?

While coffee isn’t everything, it certainly is in service of building memories, good ones that last a good long time.

Neil looks at my empty cup and asks, “More coffee?”

Definitely, I nod. Definitely.

記得在聖保羅的某一天,老同學帶我們到Oscar Freire走走;
雖然同在一個城市,可是這里跟我們所到訪過的其他地方比起來,
明顯的有所不同。
綠樹成蔭的道路,各大品牌的旗艦店隨處可見。
老同學說,這裡是聖保羅的烏節路。
我們來到這裡,除了看看這條當地著名的街道外,還為了一家咖啡館。
Santo Grão是一家人氣咖啡館,平時想在這悠閒的喝杯咖啡,可得大排長龍。
不過我們當天的運氣不錯,只等了一會兒就有位子了。

這裡的咖啡如何?老實說我真的沒什麼印象了。
也許是當時因為忙著和多年不見的老同學聊天話家常,
也許是忙著看看路上打扮時髦,衣著光鮮的人們。
只記得處處衣香檳影,帥哥麗人們踩著悠閒的步伐,
在蓊鬱的樹蔭下,如同一場別開生面的服裝秀。
比起車水馬龍、人潮不斷且節奏快的烏節路,
我更喜歡這裡的慢活、優雅。


Santo Grão Café
Rua Oscar Freire 413, Jardim Paulista, São Paulo 01426-001, Brazil
Mon 9am-1am / Tue-Thu 7:30am-1am / Fri-Sat 7:30am-2am / Sun 7:30am-12am
+55-11-3062-9294
www.santograo.com.br

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February 16, 2014

Comments

wah, this looks like quite an ‘atas’ cafe! 😀 i always wondered whether brazilian coffee bars will try to only serve brazilian beans … so cannot find colombian, kenyan, sumatran beans in this country…

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