Fazenda, Birmingham

My first experience of Fazenda was at the opening party. It is all a bit of a blur to be honest. I remember being on a table with people far cooler than me, and Foodie Boys whinging about his shoes, and my wine glass being topped up about twenty times before the meat arrived. I recall the table descending into chaos with darts chants and a very detailed chat about what our dart nicknames and entrance music would be, and then singing those entrance musics. And then singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ because thats what people at the darts do, except I am not at the darts, I am in a smart restuarant in a smart part of town. We left early to find a dart board, except we never found a dart board, we found more wine at Grace and James and I woke up with a really bad head and bottles of wine I dont need in a paper bag at the bottom of my bed. Anyway, I never took any pictures and I didn’t eat much food.

I am aware that even by my low standards this makes an awful blog piece at present, so I go back on a week night when my phone is being fixed at the Apple Store. I hope they don’t check my pictures unless they like Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright and Daryl ‘Superchin’ Gurney. The room is huge; a basement space that has the whiff of a costly fit out, with bottles of wine filling the spaces within the bare bricks, and animal hides in various guises as furnishings and ceiling decorations. There is a buffet bar in the centre of the building, with cheeses and cured meats, stews from continents afar, soft breads, snappy bits of bread, fish, grains, and pulses, to make up for the skewers of animal who no longer have them. I usually hate buffets, though even I manage to fill my plate with cheese stuffed peppers, a kind of black bean casserole with nuggets of pork, couscous, and slivers of salty Parmesan.

The meats almost all impress. They come cooked as promised; the red meats rare towards the core, the bits of chicken and pork given further time yet still retaining its juices. The trademark picanha, a cut from the rump, is tender and full of flavour, the sirloin deeper in beefy notes with thicker layers of fat. The high points are unexpected: bone in chicken thighs protected from the heat by bacon, and lamb which is seasoned to within an inch of it’s life. The rest of the meat can be labelled as ‘good’, with the exception of the gammon, which is too salty and over-smoked.

I don’t have dessert for two reasons; the first being that it is not included in the £32.50 price, and, more importantly, I’m properly stuffed. This is a difficult one for me to judge: personally the concept is not to my taste; I like my food from a menu and cooked to order. On the other-hand they do everything well, and I’d have no problem recommending it anyone looking for a potentially huge feed in smart surroundings. There is clearly a desire for an up-market all-you-can-eat meat feast and for that, Fazenda do it better than anyone else in this city. I think they’ll prosper.

7/10

Images supplied by Fazenda

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