Tue, 03 April 2018
The aroma of meat being cooked welcomes the olfactory senses even before you reach the entrance of Via Brasil at the Wyndham Garden Manama. The restaurant has a contemporary, industrial ambience, with murals taking you straight to the graffitied bylanes of Rio de Janeiro. I highly recommend being seated on the outdoor terrace, when the weather permits, to soak in the glittering, commanding view from the 28th floor.
This Brazilian Churrascaria’s menu is a generous one. For a set price, diners can savour salads, a fine selection of meats, hot dishes, an assortment of cheese, as well as side orders served straight to the table.
I couldn’t compare the salads to any cold appetisers I’ve had in the recent past, although the Brazilian Potato Mayonnaise Salad was a close cousin of a comforting Russian salad. The palm hearts in the salad named after them, and also the verdant Tropical Salad took my fancy and I wolfed down quite a few bites. The Prawn Ceviche went well with sundried tomatoes and capers on the side, and the Cabbage and Pineapple Salad was delicately balanced with a garnish of sliced orange. I enjoyed the Brazilian Chicken Salpicão Salad best – delicious shredded chicken in a creamy base, along with slices of strawberries, yellow cherry tomatoes, grapefruit, lettuce, pomegranate and black olives.
The hot dishes on the buffet comprised Carreteiro Rice – buttery rice mixed with jerked beef, onions, scallions and parsley; Black Bean Feijoada – a hearty stew with beef and bacon; and Bobó De Camarão – a flavourful tapioca and coconut-based gravy with prawns. All excellent in taste, aroma and eye appeal.
We flipped our little table batons green-side-up, to begin a carnival of meats. The friendly passadores (meat waiters) were the most hospitable hosts, cajoling us to gobble more of each of the succulent meats they bore on their giant skewers. Baby beef of the Picanha cut just melted in the mouth, while the well-seasoned flank steak revealed a rosy hue within. The parmesan and herb-crusted tenderloin tantalisingly dripped with its own juices when cut to be served. The sharp, unmistakable taste of cheese heightened the flavour.
The naturally sweet, rosé Roulade of Duck Breast went exceptionally well with the vinegar sauce, while chicken drumsticks were divine with traditional Chimichurri sauce. Marinated in yellow mustard and olive oil and seasoned for 24 hours, the poultry is generously sprinkled with parmesan, chilli flakes and oregano halfway through its cooking to give it a fragrant crust. The lamb chops with garlic fell away from the bone easily, giving a smooth, velvety mouthfeel.
The meats were accompanied by deep-fried tapioca and banana and quintessential Brazilian cheese bread. The fluffy rounds of salty garlic bread are also worth sparing some stomach space for. Just when you think you’ve had enough meat for the whole month, in comes a delightfully palate-cleansing treat; it’s rich, charred aroma preceding its arrival. Golden yellow cylinders of pineapple drenched in cinnamon render the taste buds ready for dessert.
Speaking of which, Via Brasil has a small, but significant, dessert list. I opted for the Homemade Brazilian Flan, a full-bodied custard made with condensed milk, its taste elevated by the bitter-sweet caramel swirls on the plate.
My companion’s Passionfruit Mousse was a creamy, fruity concoction textured with walnuts, while the Papaya Cream with Cassis we shared was a mélange of ripped papaya in light-as-air cream, spiked with a tinge of cassis – just divine.
Via Brasil is a carnivore’s dream come true and with such a hearty repertoire, picturesque outdoor seating and warm service, it warrants a visit, and soon!