Guestblog from @JoMurricane
The opening of Fazenda injected warmth and and vibrancy to an icy cold winter night in Leeds. The gas torches on entry were a welcoming sight to the guests as they arrived, and the restaurant itself is beautifully decorated, mixing brickwork with dark wood panelling, red carpets and candles together with vibrant music, you feel both comfortable and energised at once.
The Brazilian restaurant offers a new and exciting dining concept for Leeds, and it’s one that works exceptionally well. Fazenda uses the ‘all you can eat’ idea, in that diners pay a set fee to cover their meal, but they do it with such class and style. There is a salad bar, which offers an extensive range of delicious foods including gourmet salads, asparagus, sun blushed tomatoes, stuffed peppers, cured meats, and an impressive collection of cheeses. The selection is magnificent, so there’s definitely something for everyone.
However, the truly distinctive element of this restaurant is the meat. There is a selection of 15 cuts, which are carved and served from the kebab skewer at your table. I wasn’t sure how this would work in practice, and whether I would find it interruptive, but it was a really exciting way to dine, and allows you to take time over your food, and sample an incredible selection of meats, which are all cooked to perfection. The star of the show for me was the fillet mignon. It was cooked exceptionally well, and was perfectly tender. I also tried the rump steak, chicken thighs and cured sausages, which were all amazing, and there were all set off by the explosive chimichurri sauce that you find on every table.
The gaucho chefs roast the cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken using traditional techniques that have been used for centuries, and this restaurant is a fantastic way to share these with us. A simple method of having a card showing red or green tells the chefs whether you’d like to be served or not, so they never disturb you if you have enough and would like to be left to dine in peace. The staff members were all terrifically welcoming and friendly, providing such a great atmosphere that I didn’t to leave at the end of the night.
Fazenda is definitely a meat lover’s dream. There are even outlines of animals on the ceiling showing where the different cuts of meat come from. I think this is brilliant, and for me the way they respect and celebrate meat is fantastic, but I would warn vegetarians that this probably isn’t a restaurant for them!
Fazenda’s opening night was an exceptional success. All the guests seemed to be having a brilliant time, and the chatter and laughter in the room was a clear sign that the owners had struck exactly the right tone with this new venture. Fazenda has brought some Brazilian tradition and warmth to Leeds, and this new dining experience is one not to be missed.