Casual Brazilian food with a nice atmosphere and a great team.
So, last night, me and a pal were treated to an amazing feast at Fogo Brazilian Churrasco in Central Park. We got to meet and hang out with the team, and get a greatest hits selection from their menu.
Pierluigi, the manager, and also a talented chef explained that there are quite a few Fogo outlets in different shopping malls and other places, but there are only two sit-down restaurants in Sydney, one in Bondi and the one here. It means that they have a bit more freedom with the menu and can add some specialties.
Located in Central Park, they get a lot of office workers, and a lot of international students. Accordingly, the team is international, Pier is Italian, Brazil, a chef, is Nepalese (great name to work in a Brazilian restaurant) and the waiter was French. They’ve also made sure the menu is appealing to their Asian students (adding coconut rice to the menu) and Muslim students (all the meat is halal).
Their recent specialty is a burger, #9 by Lush, the name comes from a contest won by a colourful character named Lisa Lush. In any case, the burger has a bun with edible charcoal in it, making it nearly black, filled with pulled beef, along with salsa, lettuce, cheese and sour cream. It was a great combo of textures and yet tasted surprisingly light.
Brazilian BBQ meat (churrasco) seems to go through phases in different cities of being better known or less well known. The chain Brazas has a number of locations in Sydney, and a few independent places pop up and disappear and reappear.
Here at Fogo they brine each meat for longer than a day. The platter serves up a selection of each of the meats along with some tasty sauce and sides. Love the chorizo sausage, of course, and we thought the chicken was especially tender.
Another specialty here are the ribs, smothered in sweet sauce, and enough to feed rather a lot of people, more than the two of us!
Lots of sides available. I have a weakness of onion rings. My dining companion likes the fries here.
The two salads, a coleslaw and a bean salad, were perfect, and needed as a counterpoint to the meat!
Special mention also to the Yenda Beer from the Australian Beer Company. I wasn’t familiar with this local brew, and it was perfect with the food.
So, we didn’t think that we could manage a dessert, but Pierluigi gave us no choice. And thank goodness. The Brigadeiro in its original form is a ball of condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter and chocolate sprinkles, sort of like a huge truffle. But here, they’ve made it less sweet, apparently, and into a perfect square. It was dense and really sweet and delicious. Really delicious.
You can organise in advance to come for a Brazilian feast where, like we did, they just bring out everything. A fun thing to do for an office party, or a celebration. I’d recommend not eating the day before though.
For a casual restaurant, there is a surprising amount of choice in what you can get to eat. As my dining companion reflected, Brazil itself seems a country that is international and absorbs different cultures, so it seems appropriate that Fogo is bringing a taste of Brazil to Sydney and yet adapting it to an international market, in a fun atmosphere with Brazilian music.
For me, it brought me back some happy memories of Cae and John hosting me many years ago in Rio, meeting their friends, and learning about Brazilian culture. So, it might remind you of Brazil, if you’ve been there before, or it will give you a taste of a fun culture with tasty specialties. And meat. A lot of meat.
Thanks Pierluigi, Brazil and the Fogo team for treating us to a great meal! We’ll be back.