It’s official, Brasa has closed!
3rd November 2014
It has come to my attention that Brasa has not been trading for a few weeks. I have attempted to make a booking, but have been unsuccessful in reaching anyone there. I have also spoken to the North Star and they seemed to be under the impression that Brasa was still there. I don’t know what’s going on, but rest assured that I will get to the bottom of it.
7th August 2014
Cuisine: South American/Brazilian
Price: Moderate (£25/person for full buffet + drinks – cheaper Sun to Thurs, closed Mon)
Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Since the unfortunate demise of my favourite rodizio (Amber Grill in Willesden Junction R.I.P.), I have not been able to fulfil my lust for eating copious amounts of meat. I have visited popular chains such as Rodizio Rico and Rodizio Preto, but have found these to be somewhat lacking and inevitably disappointing (unless you consider a mouthful of salt with every bite satisfying). I find it astounding how popular these two chains are (a good one is El Vaquero – technically they claim to be Argentinian though; same-same but different). How hard can it be to cook a huge slab of meat over a barbecue? To get it right, very hard.
Brasa Rodizio is easy to miss as it’s located on the first floor of the North Star Pub, which itself is literally 50m across the road from Finchley Road tube station. However, having spotted the signage from the car, I took the World Cup in Brasil (can you tell how mad about football they are from their logo?) as a good pretext for trying out the buffet at Brasa (I’m not German, but I’m so sorry for the 1-7 drubbing).
Unlike most other buffets, Brasa employs the sit down experience. Great idea, I love it! I’m not saying I’m a lazy bastard, but the more time I’m given to enjoy my meal without getting up, the better.
If I wasn’t so concerned about turning into a 30 stone tub of goo, I could very easily eat here every day. Can’t wait to go back.
Guaraná Antartica, practically the Coca-Cola of Brazil.
The sides were plentiful, all served to you on your table, and unlimited. The simple tangy salads gave a well needed respite from all of the meat, clearing the palate in preparation for the next instalment from the passadores (meat guys).
Holy cow Batman! Where’s the rest of the cow?
The staff were super friendly and accommodating, asking me which cuts I would like next. Picanha (the most Brazilian cut, is a must try), beef rib and chicken hearts please; actually, just give me everything?
A staple of Brazilian cuisine, it just wouldn’t be right without having rice and feijoada preto (black bean stew – better pic below).
I must admit that I was a little surprised that it was only black beans in this feijoada. I’m used to having chunks of salty pork and sausage in there also. However, all things considered, the extra meat was not missed. Brasa’s cassava chips (top of photo) were probably the best I’ve had. They were soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Balls of banana fritters go really well with the bacon wrapped chicken (below) and also work as a palate cleanser (pity they don’t also serve barbecued pineapple).
The gritty stuff in the picture above is called farofa. It’s great with the grilled meats and the feijoada. Ask for some chicken hearts, and you can usually gauge how good the churrasqueiro (bbq chef) is (if that’s your thing). Most importantly, they should never be overcooked. These were cooked to perfection; succulent and juicy with the ideal amount of seasoning (muito delicioso, obrigado chef). I’d once ordered some at Rodizio Rico, and they came out as hard as bullets and covered in so much salt I almost lost consciousness.
A very unassuming doorway gives way to what I think is going to be my favourite meat haunt.