This article originally appeared in the latest May edition of Foodie: Jamie's Hong Kong. Read it here!
Firey beast: This week marks the grand opening of LKF's newest edition - Braza Churrascaria. The latest endeavour by Dining Concepts, this hearty steakhouse adds to the restaurant group's line-up of carnivore joints including Gaucho, Tango, and Bistecca. Unlike typical steakhouses, Braza is inspired by the churrascaria of Southern Brazil, where the tradition of sizzling meat over charcoal on giant skewers have been popular since the early 1800s. The "Rodizio" style of all-you-can-eat tableside carving adds to the festive atmosphere. Waiters arrive at each table holding sword-like skewers of meat and carve them right in front of diners’ eyes. There's no traditional menu, but rather, a feast directed by sight. Guests pick from an assortment of tantalising skewers paraded around their tables including luscious cuts of beef, lamb, pork, chicken, sausage and seafood. Not to be overshadowed, a sumptuous salad and buffet bar heaving with veggies, ceviche, cold cuts, carreteiro rice, feijoada and fruits further seduces appetites. Braza head chef Diego Fernando Sanchez, originally hails from Colombia, but spent his formative years in Argentina before making his way to the Fragrant Harbour.
A Toast to Good Times: One way to get the party started is with the national drink of Brazil – the caipirinha. We started our lunch with refreshing glasses of a strawberry and passion fruit version, which oozes longing for lazy afternoons lounging poolside.
For Starters: Lunch started with an assortment of Brazilian appetisers, including fluffy Coxinha potato croquettes stuffed with chicken, fried bananas, a sautéed dish of pork belly, corn, and mushrooms called Farofa, and a heart-stopping bubbling tub of melted Provolone cheese topped with chimichurri sauce. We loved the sweet and savoury contrast between the crunchy banana fritter and the vinegary pineapple and persimmon relish, and we groaned like the happy gluttons we are at the indulgent vat of melted cheese. The Farofa, dusted with toasted cassava flour, was a great accompaniment to the grilled meats that were to come.
Bring It! Sizzling giant skewers of luscious meat soon arrived at our table glistening with flavourful juices. Some highlights include the citrus marinated prawns, the Picanha (top-sirloin), and the bacon-wrapped turkey. The latter was a pleasant surprise, as I usually steer away from turkey due to its relative dryness, but the bacon-wrapped version at Braza was fork tender and bursting with delicious juiciness. The house-made Brazilian sausage, with a blend of pork and veal, was grilled to perfection with a crispy, blistered skin and rich flavour.
Sweeten the Deal: To "cleanse our palates" we indulged in grilled pineapple, dusted in cinnamon. The heat from the grill somehow enhanced the juiciness of the fruit, and we couldn't stop asking for more. As if the pineapple wasn't enough, we indulged in the Cocada ($68), a coconut mousse dotted with dark rum jelly, and the Purim ($68), a velvety condensed milk flan topped with dulce de leche, accompanied with poached figs and white quinoa pudding. Our favourite was the silky flan, which melted effortlessly well with the dulce de leche.
"Rodizio" style: Since this is an all-you-can-eat type of restaurant, guests are given round table cards with either "I am still hunger" or "No more thank you" written on the sides. If you keep the card turned on green, then the meat will keep on comin'! The only way to beg for mercy is if you flip it to the red side. It'll be hard for any restaurants in Central to beat the reasonable price and quality ingredients of Braza. Lunch is priced at only $168, which includes free-range on the salad bar as well as three types of grilled meats. Dinner includes a buffet, specialty Brazilian appetiser and unlimited meat at the very reasonable price of $388. And kids under five eat for free at both lunch and dinner.
Verdict: This is where you'd want to spend your Friday nights. The relaxed yet lively atmosphere, coupled with juicy cuts from the meat parade, makes for a great evening to unwind with friends, and to toss back a caipirinha or three. We have a feeling we'll be back very soon.
Braza, 3/F Grand Progress Building, 15 LKF, Central, 2890 9268