‘All You Can Eat’ can be a bit of a double-edged sword in dining. It usually screams great value and is exceptionally popular, particularly when catering for groups of varying appetites. But let’s face it, the food itself can be a bit rubbish. Mass catering, cheap prices and a clientele aiming to ‘get their money’s worth’ often combine to create a less than enjoyable meal. It’s a fine line to get it right, but Brazillian ‘All You Can Eat’ Fazenda is a game changer.
The location itself is stunning, looking out over the canals in Granary Wharf, and easily accessible from the train station – in fact the addition of the southern entrance at Leeds Train Station takes you as close as possible to the entrance of the building! Our charming waiter was on hand and attentive, explaining how our Fazenda experience worked: the middle of the restaurant is taken up by a vast island salad bar – now when I say salad bar, I don’t mean limp lettuce and a ladle of thousand-island dressing; with over 50 items including gourmet salads, fresh vegetables, cheeses, artisan breads, cured meats, smoked salmon and a number of hot dishes, the salad bar is a meal in itself. It’s extremely tempting to fill up on this selection, so be warned! The meat is the real highlight of this experience, so make sure you give it the opportunity to take centre stage.
After indulging on the accompaniments, our waiter explained the card system. Each diner is provided with a double-sided circular card – one red side, one green side. While ever the green side is on show, Fazenda’s Passadores (meat men, easily identifiable by their red shirts) will come to you, bringing the selection of fifteen meats to your table. Ever attentive, before the feasting began our waiter checked that all members of the group were happy with rare to medium rare cooking, catering for carnivores with an aversion to blood-y bits.
The meat itself is out of this world. Beautifully cooked, juicy and seasoned to perfection, our Passadores treated us to an immense choice of fifteen meats, including filet mignon, garlic rump, and ribeye steak, honey and cinnamon pork belly, minted lamb, sausages, black pudding, chicken hearts, chicken thighs and gammon. There really is something to not only tempt everyone, but leave you wishing you weren’t so full, so as to fit in more. As if that wasn’t enough, tables are brought baskets of hand cut, skin on fries, automatically refilled until the cards are flipped red.
The wine and cocktail selections are extensive, and all the staff are knowledgeable offering suggestions for wine pairings where wanted. There is also a stunning dessert selection, although none of our group could face another bite after gorging ourselves on the meat! At £29.50/person (evening, £19.50 lunch time) it’s not the cheapest of meals. But considering that for your two-hour table allocation you are feasting on, not only a huge amount, but also the finest quality cuts of meat, this quite quickly becomes excellent value. Our group was thoroughly impressed by the experience, and I personally can’t wait for my next visit!
Have you visited Fazenda? How was your experience? Leave me a comment below!