If you’ve ever been to South America, you know that Argentina and Brazil place a huge focus on stunning cuts of meat, from asados (BBQs) and classic steak restaurants to the much-loved rodizio. At the latter, servers walk around, cutting you pieces off huge, freshly cooked slabs right at your table. Sound like a bit of you? You'll be happy to hear there's a swish spot that’s offering this dining experience all over the UK, popping up in Manchester, Birmingham and more. And now, lucky for us, it’s finally come to London: say hello to Fazenda in Bishopsgate.
We started our experience in the downstairs bar; both catering to the business after-work crowd and the young, Instagram-loving folk, it was suave while also being completely gorgeous. I felt like it gave off a kind of sleek yet tropical vibe, mixing contemporary and natural furnishings for a totally swish look. We’re talkin’ marble-style tables and leather seating alongside a glowing bar made up of light-wood panels, plus tropical plants and a huge rainforest mural scaling the wall. What a beaut. Even the cocktail list offered a little taste of Latin America – the Sour Birdie (£14) was an elegant, floral take on the classic pisco sour, blending Portobello Road Gin, Aba Pisco, Amaretto, rose tea, orgeat and that all-important egg white, which brought the drink’s signature frothiness. My thirsty partner went for the delicious Brazilian Fireman (14.50), a punchy and moreish combo of Fair Quiona Vodka, Sipello Aperitif, passion fruit, Moscato grappa, cassis and vanilla.
After knocking these back, we were guided to the dining room upstairs, which was eye-catching and sophisticated. Mixing dark orange booths, Art Deco-style lighting and beautifully laid-out tables, it was perfect for everything from special occasions to business dinners and sexy date nights. My only gripe was that, as the evening went on, the light became a little TOO dim and I could barely see the menus or food, but hey ho - you can’t have everything.
The rodizio experience (£49.90 per head) offers you 12 freshly prepared meats, all carved at your table, including beef tenderloin, wagyu sausages, pork belly, chicken thighs and so much more. You're given a heavy coin-type thing that you turn over to show when you’ve had enough, and the servers stop coming to your table - until you flip it over again, that is. Everything (and I mean everything, I literally tried it all) was superb. Not one piece had been overly chewy, badly cooked or lacking in flavour; every single bite I took was an absolute treat. Plus, the fact that you get small portions of each is ideal for those whose eyes are bigger than their stomachs (guilty), so you can eat at a nice slow pace and not get overstuffed too quickly. It's very hard to choose a favourite cut, but it’s probably going to have to be the wagyu sausage – that bad boy was incredibly juicy and packed bags of flavour.
We didn't go thirsty either; after asking for a recommendation, we opted for a bottle of Chacra La Papay, Lama (£42) – although pinot noir is usually my fave red, this was a little on the tart side for me and didn't pair with the varied meats as much as I'd have liked. However, the sides more than made up for this. To break up the carnivorous spread a little, we made sure to order a few veggie plates to share. The morrones (£5.80) were sweet, slightly charged piqullo peppers doused in garlic, while the feijoada (£6) was beautifully smooth, made up of black beans, chorizo, bacon and tangy biquinho peppers that kept you on your toes.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Let's be honest - Fazenda is perfect for those who get food FOMO. If you go for the rodizio experience, you'll get a taste of 12 different meats, plus you can opt for a bunch of sides to really round off the meal too. Even better, everything I tried was absolutely scrumptious, from the heady cocktails and succulent cuts to the small plates that shone a light on the flavours of Latin America. Will I be back? Yes. Will I be wearing stretchier trousers? Definitely.
💰 The damage: Just over £100 for two, plus service.
📍 The location: 100 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 1GT.
👌 Perfect for: Swish date nights, special occasions and impressive business dinners.
⭐ Need to know: There are plenty of mains on the menu, but I highly recommend opting for the rodizio experience.