The Fabulous Fazenda

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www.fazenda.co.uk/leeds

Fazenda is located on the uber trendy Granary Wharf in Leeds – a posh development on the canal with cool bars, restaurants and flats. It’s the kind of place where I always feel slightly awkward cos I definitely am not stylish enough to be there! I went with a large group of people – and the waiting staff were nothing but welcoming and patient with our rather rowdy bunch.

At Fazenda you start at the salad bar – this is no limp lettuce location, no shoddy-salad shelter. This is the accommodation of aristocratic accompaniment. The salad bar could have satisfied the hungriest customer – a veritable meal in itself, and generous not only in the fact you can help yourself throughout the meal, but also in its range and breadth of different side orders.

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We chose from the traditional salad leaves, a variety of cured meats, potato salads, couscous, and an unheard of selection of sauces, oils, and dressings for our meat.

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Ah, the meat. The smiling waiters bring it round on skewers – all the different animals you can imagine are presented to you, beautifully cooked for you to choose from. The way you let the waiters know that you are meat ready is akin to a rather awful university party tradition – the ‘traffic light party’. You let them know you want more meat by displaying green. (Both at the party and in Fazenda – sorry, sorry – I’ll stop with the ‘meat’ innuendo). To tell them you’ve had enough, you turn the place mat over to display the ‘red’ sign.

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I went through many different stages during the course of the meal. From ravenously hungry (green) to optimistically full (still a hesitant green), to needing a tactical break and a short stroll (red) to succumbing to temptation (a groaning green again) to needing to be rolled out (RED RED RED). In the interests of blogging I of course had to try as many different types of meat as possible (this no doubt led to the Code Red situation). The waiting staff regularly brought round huge skewers with the meat on, and cut it onto your plate (with some assistance from the diner holding a convenient pair of tongs).

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The waiting staff patiently put up with our HILARIOUS banter about meat, sausages and the size of their knives with good grace, despite having heard it all before. They also asked if anyone wanted their meat more ‘done’ and happily catered to their needs, serving the rest of us beautifully cooked medium-rare steak. ALL the meat was good. Very moist, and full of flavour, A couple of highlights for me was the belly-pork cooked in honey, and the fillet mignon (the house specialty). Needless to say I had severe meat sweats.

The one member of our party who was a vegetarian also thoroughly enjoyed his meal. One of the first things our server asked was if any of us was vegetarian, and she offered him choice of a variety of delicious-sounding dishes, along with access to the salad bar. One of the features of the salad bar was the rather spectacular cheesy bowl of cheese which drew a lot of attention from my cheese-loving friends:

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To finish, a few of our party had desserts which all looked lovely too – from cheesecakes to chocolate cake, to icecream and sorbets, whilst others indulged in a cocktail:

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Fazenda’s truly was fabulous. I would definitely recommend not eating much before going there to take full advantage of the salad bar and different types of meat. The price is very reasonable, with all of us paying just £30 each for the meal (including a well deserved service charge). You should definitely try it – a must for all meat lovers!

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