Eat Here: Fazenda, BishopsgateBy Elliot Mitchell
When it comes to representing South American cuisine, London has come a long way in the last decade. Of course, there’s always been underground spots alongside the homogenised big boys of the high street, but few are taking a taste of the Pampas to fine dining levels, which is what makes Fazenda such an interesting new challenger in the capital.
After cutting their teeth in Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Birmingham, Fazenda have arrived in Bishopsgate – aiming to compete with the likes of nearby Sushi Samba and Duck & Waffle by creating fine dining with an emphasis on the ‘experience’. In essence, they have achieved this, as the new site is packed as we visit on a Thursday night; the Fino bar is wall-to-wall busy with Square Mile workers, and in the air there’s a sense of anticipation for the weekend ahead. We take a seat at the counter and order a Paloma, delivered with the biggest slice of grapefruit we’ve ever seen and enough salt on the rim to think the barman may own shares in Maldon. It’s exquisite – hitting those sweet notes with a subtle burn from the El Jimador Tequila – reminding our heads we have work in the morning and mustn’t order too many of these tonight (as delicious as they are).
We then move upstairs to the tastefully designed restaurant area, as cosmopolitan interiors delightfully contrast the robustness of the Rodizio experience that the brand has become known for. Ahead of digging into the latter, we start with a series of single-bite appetisers to wake up our palate, with blends of truffle and mozzarella hitting the spot while the Wagyu beef éclair with chimichurri mayo is an absolute triumph.
Following that, the option of small plates were too tempting to turn down, although in hindsight if we knew how much meat we were about to consume we probably should have refrained from ordering half the menu. Nevertheless, the Scottish Scallop with Yuzu was remarkable, while the Burrata packed a gorgeous South American punch when paired with Wagyu Chorizo and Aji Rojo. The gambas prawns also defied expectations (we’ve been burned in the past with ‘giant’ restaurant prawns being somewhat exaggerated in size) and were a taste sensation, gloriously marinated culminating in a juicy flavour bomb that we were thinking about days later.
Onto the main event, Rodizio has been somewhat elusive in the UK food scene – which we’re super relieved for, this doesn’t need to go the way of the ‘world buffet’. For the uninitiated, the rodizio experience is all about high-end meats being carved at your table, and in Fazenda’s case, 13 different dishes are in constant rotation from attentive wait staff, while diners also have access to the ‘market table’ which is essentially the boujiest version of the Harvester salad bar you’ve ever experienced.
For meat lovers, Fazenda’s offering is unmatched in the capital. Every dish is cooked to perfection, from the Picanha (beef prime top sirloin) to the Bife Ancho (Beef Ribeye) and Filet Mignon (tenderloin), every cut is some of the most tender beef we’ve ever eaten. The likes of the Lamb Rump and Truffled Pork Tenderloin show that beef isn’t the only speciality here, while the Sobrecoxa De Frango (chicken thighs) put Nandos to shame both in size and quality. For the adventurous, the chicken hearts are also a must-try, and we couldn’t be happier we trusted our waiter’s opinion on these tiny flavour bombs.
On the outside, Fazenda’s location and clientele may look like it’s made for TikTok food critics and bankers, but look below the surface and you’ll have one of the most interesting and compelling dining experiences in the capital. If you’re on the Square Mile, sack off the skyscrapers and get involved.
100 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 1GT
For more information on Fazenda, see here.