Stuff yourself at the all-you-can-eat extravaganza that is Edinburgh's Fazenda, says Gaby Soutar

You know what’s annoying when you’re hangry?

When people say you might just be dehydrated, because hunger is often mistaken for thirst.

Oh great, I’ll cancel my pizza delivery and get them to send me San Pellegrino instead.

Then there’s the advice to eat slowly, because apparently it takes your brain 20 minutes to get the message from your stomach that it’s full.

No way, my digestive system and cranium are very close pals, there are no huffy silences. Despite the fact that my hunger is never quashed by eating slowly or drinking water, quality over quantity is still my mantra.

That’s probably why I haven’t had the best experiences when visiting Brazilian rodizio restaurants, as they tend to prioritise volume.

It works like this. You go to the buffet table, fill your plate, eat, then, when you’re ready for the passadores to bring over skewers of churrasco meat, you turn your coaster to green, then red when you’re done.

You can return to the buffet table at any point, and turn your cardboard coaster back to green if you get a second wind.

Basically, gorge until your bombachas feel too tight.

This upmarket chain is a bit fancier than your bog-standard all-you-can-eat. In fact, it makes this genre aspirational, with bling chandeliers, leather banquettes, velvety seats, wood cladding, and a circular bar.

While, the staff have a kindly and solicitous air that makes you feel like you’re on a flight or in hospital (the terminally greedy ward, perhaps).

On weekday lunchtime, you pay £19.50, or £21.50 on weekends and bank holidays, and this involves eight varieties and cuts of meat on rotation.

At dinner, you pay £32.50, and there are 15 types.

There are also vegan, pescatarian and vegetarian options, though you’re still a bad friend if you drag a herbivore here.

Once the nearby tableful of rugby-player-sized lads, all doing excellent impressions of apocalyptic locusts, had vacated the buffet, we took our plates up.

In tureens, there are a few hot things, like chimichurri potatoes and feijoada, the Brazilian black bean and pork stew.

But, mainly, it’s like supermarket sweep at a cold deli counter. Think beetroot (topped with coconut shavings, orange and onion), picantones (spicy sweet potato), balsamic onions, curried cauliflower, sushi, olives, chargrilled asparagus, ceviche seafood, dill-topped smoked salmon, Boggle-dice sized cubes of cheese, stuffed vine leaves, salpicao (a chicken salad coleslaw thing), anchovies and loads more.

 

It was enough to keep us occupied before turning our coasters to green to allow the waiters to come a-calling.

The meat is served medium rare to medium, though they can vary that on request. They carve at the table, and you use your own set of tongs to pick off slices. It’s probably easier if one person is the boss of this.

We had a self-appointed mother at the table, which is maybe why I ended up with a lot of dry brown crusts, and they bagged all the juicy pink slices.

I liked the cordeiro, or mint-brushed lamb, though the signature picanha cap of rump had a good gamey and punchy flavour.

Linguica gaucha sausages were decent sweet fat chipolatas. Presunto com abacaxi – well, who likes gammon and pineapple? Nobody since 1973. The barriga de porco (pork belly), topped with a little honey and cinnamon dressing, was OK, as were the chunky sobrecoxa de frango (chicken thighs).

I was already reaching peak meat so I’m not sure I could fully appreciate the marbled tritip (bottom sirloin), and the alcatra (or rump), though they were tender and flavoursome.

So we turned the coaster to red, paused, then ordered dessert, the Brazilian sweet treats (£6.15), which consisted of five mini puds.

There was a tiny green caipirinha cheesecake, with lime zest and a hit of the sugar spirit cachaca, a chocolate truffle filled with dulce de leche, a take on coconut macaroon, a doughnut bon bon and a beige puff pastry stub with custard on top. All fine.

Anyway, they made my bombachas feel tighter than ever, so I really hope that, this time, I hadn’t just been thirsty.

Fazenda

102 George Street, Edinburgh 

(0131-215 1234, www.fazenda.co.uk)

 

 

 

Fazenda, Edinburgh, restaurant review
Food70%
Ambience70%
70%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (11 Votes)
70%

About The Author

Gaby Soutar

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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