Restaurant review: Fazenda, Granary Wharf, Leeds city centre

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Admitting defeat is never easy - especially for a committed carnivore.

But when the challenge in question is a seemingly endless selection of delicious meats, knowing when to surrender and wave the white flag can prove particularly difficult.

Maybe that’s why Fazenda, in Granary Wharf, have endeavoured to make it as easy as possible for diners to surrender and throw in the towel.

By thoughtfully incorporating an ingenious “stop/go” flash card system at the table, the management have avoided the potential for bruised egos when meat-lovers have to concede that they’ve reach their limit.

For those unfamiliar with the concept at this popular Brazilian-style venue it is all about the meat.

And there is essentially a reversible beer mat to help guide you through your meat marathon.

On the one side the mat is green, and on the other, the mat is red.

This simple device acts as a signal of your intentions to a seemingly endless army of waiters patrolling the restaurant floor, armed with skewers of mouth-watering meat.

When you’re ready for more, you flip the mat to green and the waiters rush over to serve you as much meat as you can muster.

Then once you’re fit to burst you simply flip the mat back to red until you are ready for more.

On previous visits Oliver has always been particularly impressed with this unusual approach to eating.

It certainly defies the tradition of turning up to a restaurant, ordering your meal, waiting for said meal to arrive and then paying before leaving.

This more unusual system of ordering your meal by Fazenda allows you to eat as much, or as little, as you want for a set price.

My dining partner and I arrived on a bustling Friday evening and the restaurant was full of couples and groups tucking into a whole variety of different skewers of meat.

Although we booked a table we decided to stop for a quick drink in the bar to steel ourselves before we prepared for our gastronomic experience.

Sitting down on a comfy chair upholstered in cow hide, it was immediately obvious that this was no place for vegetarians.

There were a few vegetarian options on the menu but it would be fair to say that you would be the odd one out at this carnivore’s playground.

Once we were seated at our table in the restaurant my dining companion and I decided to take in the sights of the sprawling salad bar to see what was on offer.

There was a mouth-watering selection of the usual greens and there were also other dishes such as cured meats, new potatoes, vegetables, cheeses and sauces.

We decided to take a strategic approach to our meal and opted not to fill up on the salad bar and instead prepare for the selection of meats that were set to grace our plates.

We both opted to sample just a small selection of vegetables and the odd lettuce leaf just to make us feel less guilty about our high levels of meat consumption.

My companion decided to opt for a few cold cuts of meat from the salad bar - but they were still on his plate untouched by the end of our Fazenda experience.

And then the fun really started as soon as we flipped our humble mat over to the green side.

Within meer seconds of showing our colours a waiter rushed over to our table to help us serve up our first cut of meat.

The endless sea of meat was truly a carnivore’s paradise and there were plenty of cuts to choose from.

The meats were cooked on a rota-style system and different meats were paraded in front of us.

And among the large skewers there were some simply outstanding choices of cut to sample.

My personal favourite were the chicken hearts although my partner squeamishly turned them down on several occasions.

The small hearts had a special chargilled taste to them and they tasted divine.

Another particular favourite of ours was the filet mignon.

The fillet, which was one of the more tender cuts, was practically melted in your mouth and it was cooked to perfection with a rare sheen through the middle of the steak.

The pichana, which is the rump cut, was juicy and full of flavour and we opted for more than just one offering.

My dining partner’s particular favourite was the bife de presunto or the smoked gammon.

He could have quite happily have been handed the entire skewer of meat and left to his own devices.

We also enjoyed the frango which was a tasty serving of chicken thigh wrapped in a slice of bacon.

We were also given some hand-cut chips, which came served in their own small frying basket.

It was a nice touch but by the time we had ploughed through the meat the chips were more of an afterthought.

When we finally both admitted defeat, flipping our mats over to red, we took a short rest, steeling ourselves for dessert.

The selection was certainly tempting including a passionfruit cheesecake, a Marquise de Chocolate and a variety of sorbets.

However, my dining partner and I were forced to surrender and wave a white flag as we struggled to even squeeze in a dessert to round off our meat marathon.

Overall our bill came in at just over £74 which included two bottles of Brahma and a strawberry mocktail.

Luckily for us we had parked our car on the other side of the city - so we at least started to work off some of the mammoth meal as we began our trek back home.

PIC: Tony Johnson

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