As a food blogger, I’m often asked where my favourite place to eat is. It’s a tough question as it will depend on the type of cuisine I’m searching out, the occasion and what I’m wanting to spend. However, invariably one of my replies will often include Fazenda on George Street, the Brazilian Rodizio where it’s not difficult to stuff yourself full. I’m such a fan, I’ve already dined there five times this year.
This notoriety stood me in good stead and I was invited by their lovely Relationship & Events Manager, Amy to come and sample Fazenda’s new bar menu, along with some cocktails curated by Alex Palumbo, their bar manager.
Fazenda’s bar manager is a Diageo Reserve Top 100 bartender
He was recently named as one of Diageo Reserve 2019 World Class Top 100 bartenders, which puts the spotlight on the best and brightest of the UK bar world.
The shortlist includes names from London to Glasgow, and represent those who have made it through the first stage of Diageo’s annual competition to find the next generation of bartending talent. So I knew I was in for a good evening.
The new bar menu is served in their bars and on their terraces. It blends Argentinian and Brazilian cuisines to create a menu filled with authentic flavours and dishes.
Their Executive Chef Fran Martinez has combined classic flavours in a menu containing 10 different options, 5 for each of their native countries. We got to sample four, including a sweet treat, which nostalgically resembled a Wagon Wheel for those old enough to remember these childhood treats.
Coxinha de Morcela
To begin with we tried the Coxinha de Morcela from Brazil (£5.50). Delicious fried potato is stuffed with black pudding, and is topped with a spicy sriracha sauce. One bite leaves you wanting more and luckily for us, there were a few spare.
Alex paired this with a Leith Cobbler, a long cocktail of Port of Leith Oloroso sherry, apricot brandy, coconut, lemon, maraschino, garnished with a blackberry and raspberry. A delicious classic with a nutty Edinburgh twist, even if you’re not a sherry lover, this will convert you.
Next up was the Highland Punch, which used Arbikie Haar vodka, pineapple, passion fruit and lime. This cocktail was too sweet for my taste but seemed to go down well with the other tasters.
This was matched with Provoleta (£5.50), grilled Argentinian cheese served in a very hot, cast iron skillet, with chimichurri and tomatoes. The cheese was rubbery and squeaky but the juices oozing out from the tomatoes were great to dunk the small, brown seeded loaf into.
Alex’s piece de resistance was the Orchard Sour cocktail made with Lind & Lime gin, elderflower cordial, apple juice, lemon and finished with raspberry dust decorating the coupe glass.
I loved Alex’s touch of using local Scottish spirits and if you’re not familiar with Lind & Lime gin, it’s worth buying for the bottle alone.
This drink was paired with Argentinian Empanadas de Wagyu (£6.50) – think tiny parcels of pastry – shaped much like a Cornish pasty, but more delicate – filled with shredded Wagyu beef. Our table devoured these, as well as the spares.
To finish, our dessert was Alfajores (£4.50), chocolate covered cookies sandwiched with dulce de leche. Everyone declared they looked very much like small Wagon Wheels. They had the same consistency and that annoying habit of the filling sticking to the roof of your mouth and gums. We were grateful for the Caledonian cocktail to wash it down!
This cocktail used Auchentoshan 3 wood whisky, demerara, orange extracts and Fernet Branca, and was garnished with a banana leaf. Once again, it was too sweet for my palate, but for non-whisky drinkers, its sweetness might take the edge of fthe spirit.
The menu is imaginative and I’m sure if I was looking for a late night snack and a few cocktails to round off my evening, Fazenda will definitely be on my radar – but then again, I’d miss their unique South American rodizio experience, where you can gorge to your heart’s content, even if you do need a long lie down afterwards
102 George St, Edinburgh EH2 3DF
Telephone: 0131 215 1234