All you can eat steak - it's a meat lover's dream!
I am steak obsessed. So, when a friend told me that there was a restaurant in Leeds that offered an all-you-can-eat steak dining experience, I was all ears.
Fazenda, a small but growing Brazilian steak house chain with four restaurants across the UK, offers the ultimate experience for meat fanatics. With restaurants in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, and more recently Edinburgh, the group have been serving up a storm since 2011 and the popularity has only grown.
The popular gaúcho dining experience boasts a blend of century-old traditions with contemporary sophistication, with continuous service of quality meats cut and served straight from the skewer at your table by the servers, or ‘passadores’ as the brand calls them.
Based in the stylish Granary Wharf area of Leeds, my hopes are already high. And the first impressions do not disappoint. Flames whip each side of the door and a real fire creates a warm welcome as we enter, backed up by a friendly host welcoming us to Fazenda.
Booking is essential on most days, and as we enter a full house we can see why. Despite the fact that the restaurant is full, we don’t feel squashed in and we soon forget about the tables around us as we get chatting about what we want to try first.
We’re handed a double-sided token, red on one side and green on the other, which indicates to the servers when you’re ready for more meat or just having a breather. We’re then invited to visit the salad bar to start and when we return to the table with our plates the meat service will begin.
"I'm not here to eat the green stuff"
We waste no time, and as we walk over to the salad bar, I hear a gentleman say ‘Salad bar? I’m not here to eat green stuff.’ And I see his point, until I approach the salad bar, which is overflowing with delicious-looking delicacies, and my mind is soon changed.
I feel like calling it a ‘salad bar’ doesn’t really do it justice; bursting with antipasti, cheeses, vegetables, sauces and breads, it seems so much more than that. There are also baskets of unlimited fries on the table, as if there isn’t enough accompanying food to be tempted by already. Not wanting to fill up too much on sides, I sample a few bits from the selection but really I’m saving myself for the meat. It’s all you can eat and I intend to make the most of it (it’s the Yorkshire in me).
The main event
And then comes the main event. One thing that made me nervous was that between the eight of us on our table, everyone had different preferences of how they like their meat to be cooked. I personally think the rarer the better, whereas my fiancé is a well-done kind of guy, and my friends vary between medium rare to medium well. This could cause issues…
However, my mind was put to rest. The servers were attentive to everyone’s different needs, cleverly bringing around skewers with the same cuts of meat cooked to a range of degrees. As the meat started coming thick and fast, I found myself trying different cuts of beef in different ways that I wouldn’t normally. I also surprisingly didn’t feel over-faced and rarely had to use the red side of my token. The servings were small enough to enjoy so that you could say yes to all the different cuts without feeling greedy, yet we all still felt sufficiently full by the end of the meal.
And if you ever get bored of steak (as if), then you’ll be happy to know there are other meats to be enjoyed, including pork sausages, lamb, pork belly in a honey and cinnamon sauce, gammon with pineapple, chicken thighs and for the more adventurous foodie, chicken hearts.
The selection of meats differs from lunchtime to evening, as does the price. The lunchtime menu will set you back £19.50 (weekdays) to £21.50 (weekends/bank holidays) for a slightly smaller but still delicious selection. The evening menu, including all the lunchtime selection in addition to filet mignon and sirloin, chorizo sausages, chicken with bacon, and more, will cost you £32.50. It’s well worth it, I promise.
There is a vegetarian, vegan and fish menu on offer as well, although with meat being carried around and served at the table I wouldn’t expect it would be first choice for many non-meat eaters.
There is also a pudding menu, although our party all said they’d be hard pressed to fit in a pudding after all that. If you’ve got room for pudding, you’re doing it wrong.
So, when we finally couldn’t take any more meat, we sat back and contemplated the experience we had just had.
The meat was high quality, served to perfection, and so it should be. It’s the main attraction of the restaurant, and although everything else around it added to the experience, the meat was what we were all there for. Needless to say, none of us left feeling anything less than satisfied after an evening of good food in a great location.