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Sun 16 Dec 2018 01:01 PM

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Review: Fogo de Chao - a taste of Brazil in Dubai

Meat lovers are in for a treat at this international mainstay in DIFC

Review: Fogo de Chao - a taste of Brazil in Dubai
Fogo de Chão draws from the traditions of the southern Brazilian Serra Gaúcha region, which has a long history of meats being slow-roasted over an oven fire by local horsemen, otherwise known as Gauchos.

When it comes to Fogo de Chão, the Brazilian steakhouse in DIFC, one phrase comes to mind: it’s about time.

Since being established nearly four decades ago, the venerable chain has become a favourite of meat lovers in cities and towns across the US, from Los Angeles to Washington DC.

The DIFC edition, however, is only its second foray into the Middle East, after Jeddah. But for those of us who are fond of steakhouses, it was well worth the wait.

Fogo de Chão’s core concept may come as something of a novelty for those of us living in the UAE. It draws from the traditions of the southern Brazilian Serra Gaúcha region, which has a long history of meats being slow-roasted over an oven fire by local horsemen, otherwise known as Gauchos.

In practice, what this means for diners is that this isn’t a restaurant for the faint-hearted. If one chooses the restaurant’s trademark Fogo Churrasco experience (AED 249 for lunch of AED 299 for dinner) they are treated to a continuous and seemingly-never ending table-side service of various meaty Brazilian dishes, ranging from tenderloin and ribeye steaks to leg of lamb and chicken.

Diners control the flow of the meat using a red-green card, meaning that if the red side if facing up, the waiters will walk by.  If the green side is up, the meats will continue coming, along with a number of delicious sides ranging from warm pao de queijo (cheese bread) to crispy polenta, mashed potatoes and caramelised bananas.

In the unlikely event that one hasn’t quickly gotten full from the meats and the sides, the restaurant – which is spread over a massive space in DIFC’s Central Park towers – also has a ‘market table’ serving an array of fresh ingredients inspired by Brazilian staples, as well as Feijoda, a traditional black bean stew served over white rice and seasoned with a variety of ingredients, such as baked yucca flour.

Various meats can also be ordered as standalone dishes, and so can Chilean sea bass and pan-seared salmon. Taken on their own, this breadth of options and the novelty of Brazilian hospitality in the Arabian Gulf would make for a highly recommendable destination for dinner or an extended business lunch.

But that’s not all – the venue itself is one of its greatest strengths, spread across a large open terrace with striking views of the Burj Khalifa and an elegant indoor area that never feels crowded. For meat lovers especially, it’s well worth a visit.

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