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Located on the prestigious Colmore Row in the heart of Birmingham’s financial district, Fazenda, the latest addition to the city’s flourishing restaurant scene, fuses century-old gaúcho traditions with rodizio dining.
A venue that’s nothing short of a carnivore’s paradise, the Brazilian restaurant chain opened its flagship premises in Leeds in 2011, following up with eateries in Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh and, most recently, Brum.
As well as meat, the Fazenda experience is centred around exquisite wine, with the restaurant having a dedicated working wine room featuring over 100 different blends. Regrettably, due to the fact that I was driving, I couldn’t take advantage of this on the evening I visited. However, when I return - and I will be returning - indulge in fine red wine I most definitely will!
The Birmingham restaurant boasts 220 covers spread across 10,000 sq ft. Guests can utilise the venue’s two private dining rooms for special occasions, or alternatively benefit from an exclusive dining & events space, suitable for larger groups of up to 60 people.
The Fazenda experience begins with a visit to a gourmet sides bar that features quality salads, fresh-cut vegetables, breads, cured meats, continental cheeses and hot dishes, including a traditional Brazilian Feijoada - bean stew with meat. The trick here is not to over-indulge and save plenty of room for the meats - all 15 of them. However, it’s difficult to stay self-disciplined when everything looks and smells so delicious.
My plate featured a sizeable amount of fresh prawn, salmon and avocado sushi, soy and sesame quail eggs, anchovies marinated in garlic, parsley olive oil and vinegar, a black rice and squid dish, panzanella, vine leaves, olives, and a beautifully creamy mushroom stroganoff - all of which were delicious.
Once you’re ready for the meats, you control the continuous service with a small double-sided card that’s placed on your table. The green side signals the chefs to bring out skewers of sizzling meats one by one; the red indicates that you’d welcome a resting point.
The first meat that my partner and I tried was the Alcatra (rump) - a tender cut with a distinctive meaty taste. It was apparent from the outset that we were going to fall in love with Fazenda!
Next up came the restaurant’s signature cut, the Picanha (cap of rump), which, as with its predecessor, was delicate, juicy and full of flavour. Other beef options were Tritip (bottom sirloin), Filé Mignon (beef tenderloin), Fraldinha (beef skirt) and Contra Filet (sirloin). The butcher’s choice on the evening we visited was a garlic sirloin. Every cut tasted divine and was cooked beautifully.
The meats, much to our delight, were served medium rare - the passadores did ask beforehand whether this was okay with us. If you have a different preference, Fazenda will cater for it, which I thought was a really nice touch considering it’s essentially, although luxurious and upmarket, an all-you-can-eat establishment.
Aside from the beef, the menu features lamb grilled with salt and brushed with mint sauce, marinated and tender chicken thighs, honey and cinnamon pork belly, gammon with pineapple, chicken hearts (a must-try, they’re delicious), chicken with bacon, spicy chorizo and pork sausage.
Unsurprisingly, my partner and I tried all 15 meats on offer. We even went back for seconds (and indeed thirds!) of the Picanha, the pork sausage, the chorizo, the lamb, the Filé Mignon, the Fraldinha and the butcher’s choice.
Fazenda also boasts a vegetarian, fish and vegan menu, for the non-meat eaters amongst us. This includes Bacalhau Preto - cod, squid ink, garlic and spinach - a gnocchi dish with beetroot, goat’s curd, lemon and seeds - and Moquecha: coconut, tomato, seasonal vegetables and rice.
There’s a selection of desserts too - for those who can squeeze one in - featuring Brazilian sweet treats, a dulce de leche cake, white chocolate mousse, lime cheesecake and more.
It’s not just the food and drink that are wow factors at Fazenda; it’s the whole package.
The decor - the signature dark colour palette contrasted by warm, ambient lighting, cow hides and stucco walls - is simply stunning. The service was exemplary too, the staff being friendly, welcoming and knowledgable.
I very much look forward to returning to Fazenda in the near future for round two.
***** Lauren Foster
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