Fazenda, Leeds


date of visit: Wednesday 22 October 2014

Warning – no food pictures at all! One piece of meat on your plate at a time doesn’t lend itself to photography!

Last time I was in Leeds (back in 2012) my mate, Jenny, and I had the idea that we would head to Fazenda. I’d heard some good things about it and as Jenny loves meat (veggies not so much) it seemed like a really good option for us. Unfortunately, on that occasion we left booking until 2pm on the Saturday that we wanted to go … You can imagine how THAT ended!

This time round we were a lot more organised. Jenny booked well in advance for our 5:30pm sitting (the idea was to take the small eating machine with us), we were assured we had a lovely table … and then a dose of reality kicked in and I realised that there was no way the jet lagged small child was going to stay awake (and peaceable) for even the earliest of dinners. This meant that Jenny and I were dining solo and insanely early.

However, because Fazenda is in Granary Wharf it means that there is a reasonable post work trade so even early sitters like me won’t feel like they are rattling around an empty restaurant.


Fazenda is a rodizio, which is a Brazilian all you can eat steakhouse. This means you sit at your table and flip a coloured card (red or green) to indicate whether or not you want more food. The waiters bring around giant skewers with different meats on them and if you fancy some, they slice off a couple of pieces and you eat this, before waiting for the next offering. At our mid-week dinner, it was #27.30 a head (before drinks, coffees, desserts) so you do have to head along prepared to splash some cash. A Friday or Saturday night will set you back the best part of £30 but lunch times (with a cut down selection of meats, but the same all you can eat idea) come in at under £20.

Prior to the meat coming around you can tuck into the very extensive salad bar. I can’t speak from first hand experience but it didn’t strike me as being particularly Brazilian – with everything from green salad through to smoked salmon and dolmades! Of course, it’s always important to make sure you leave space for the meats.

By and large I thought the meat selection was pretty good and well cooked. If you like your meat really well done then you might struggle because a lot of the cuts of beef were very pink. Of course, there are also some chicken and even fish options and there is a vegetarian menu too (though, to be honest, I’d limit myself to taking hungry meat eaters to Fazenda …). I was a bit disappointed by the morcela (black pudding). On the night we were there it didn’t seem to be brought around routinely and I had to ask for it. I found it a little mealy with not enough spice (again – I can’t claim to be an expert on Brazilian black pudding – I just like mine to have more texture).

The wine list features a lot of South American wines – a good thing although I did feel that when it came to the sparkling wine, regionality had trumped quality. Jenn and I both had a glass of the Miolo Brazilian bubbles and neither of us rated it particularly highly. By the bottle, however, the list is interesting and features wines across price points.

By the time we’d stuffed ourselves on all the meat there was no space left for desserts. Even so, the bill ended up topping the £75 mark which is quite expensive for a mid week low alcohol meal. Fazenda bills itself as a unique dining experience – and that it definitely is. A huge part of the meal is the theatre of choosing your cuts of meat and eating at a slow pace. You feel like you’re picking at snack size morsels but you get full quickly. I never feel as though I get value for money food wise at any kind of all-you-can-eat and Fazenda was no different – but big eating friends of mine have loved it!

Was it the best steak I’ve ever eaten? No. In Leeds that honour went to the now defunct River Plate. But for entertainment value, in an area of the city with plenty of good bars for pre/post meal drinks, Fazenda definitely has its place.

Waterman’s Place (Granary Wharf)
phone: 0113 247 1182

Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Miss Perez, Stirling

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disclaimer: I was a guest at the Miss Perez launch party.

date of visit: Saturday 23 November 2013

The Hills is somewhere we don’t get often enough. Places like Stirling are almost on our doorstep and yet they are usually overlooked as either being too far away or somewhere we pass through on our way to a winery. So when the invitation for the Miss Perez launch party arrived, I was keen to check it out. Yes, we were hosting a party for five three year olds the following day but really, what would we be doing from 6pm other than sitting on the sofa feeling shell shocked in anticipation?

With bullet proof logic like that, Andy and I headed to the Hills to see what it was all about.

Miss Perez is the baby of Che and Rebecca Zahra. The names may be familiar to Hills locals, as the owners of Jimmies at Crafers. The restaurant is named after Rebecca’s mother, who was famous for her warmth and hospitality. It is this spirit that they hope Miss Perez (the restaurant) embodies.

Che, Rebecca and a gorgeous, curly headed, but very shy, five year old greeted guests on Saturday night and it wasn’t long before drinks and food were heading out of the bar and kitchen in a steady stream. After some bubbles, Andy rated the Cristal (Cuban) beer very highly – served in very funky combination jar/pitcher glasses. Also on offer was Argentinian Sauvignon Blanc and Spanish Tempranillo. In the background, a Mexican mariachi trio provided entertainment.

This drink selection really gives you a good idea of Miss Perez’s theme. In the brief opening speeches, Che noted that the restaurant wasn’t Spanish or South American or Mexican but a fusion of all those Latin flavours. So just as the drinks are eclectic, the canapés worked in a similar vein.

On the deck, a chef braved the cool (it’s hard to believe I’m typing that – it’s not quite 11am today and we’ve already hit 34°C!), putting together a huge seafood paella on a very smart looking dedicated paella barbecue. Inside, we were snacking on delicious aubergine (eggplant) croquettes that had just the right hit of heat to them and they were beautifully crispy too. There were roasted scallops with pea puree and a coconut and chilli sambal, a salsa served in witlof leaves and prawns served with a pineapple chilli chutney. Well, at least that’s what I tried! For me, the scallops and the croquettes were tight contenders for my favourite. With the scallops I loved the play between the very traditional (the pea puree) and the coconut and chilli sambal, but those croquettes were really really good too …

The formalities were very brief with Lady Rose doing the honours. Lady Rose was also in one of the rooms writing love letters, as required and in the Peacock Room, a mind reader and mixologist were both on hand.

We left the party quite early (but hey – we went home and cut out animal masks for the birthday party! It’s all rock and roll) but I’m sure that the remainder of the guests kicked up their heels.

For us, the launch party did its job and we definitely want to head back and check out Miss Perez’s full menu. Perhaps the weather will even be good enough for us to sit on the deck!

Miss Perez Restaurant & Bar
2 Druid Avenue
Stirling SA 5152
phone: (08) 7225 1932

Miss Perez Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon