Fazenda, Colmore Row

If you’re of vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian persuasion, Colmore Row’s Brazilian Rodizio, Fazenda famed for its lip-smackingly good meat, might not be top of your date night wish list. We thought we’d give it a whirl anyway – one carnivore, one pescatarian – to see how it fared.

Firstly, the salad bar – clear your mind of any negative connotations those two words might conjure up because we guarantee it’s nothing like that – was heaving with an inspiring collection of carefully curated dishes. Highlights were minted tabbouleh, Lancashire cheese with Brazilian spicing, fiery miniature red peppers, stunning cured meat, too many inventive salads to mention, punchy anchovies, we could go on.

We treated the salad bar like a starter, but realised that actually for the carnivore it should have been more of an accompaniment to the main event, indeed on the website it states, ‘sides bar’. It didn’t matter for us, but if you’re planning a trip it’s worth bearing in mind. The waiters brought out a staggered procession of skewered meat carved at the table including fillet mignon, minted lamb chump, chicken hearts and the highlight, honey and cinnamon pork collar which came highly recommended and lived up to the hype brilliantly plus lots more.

Diners control the pace at which the meat is served with a simple red and green card system. Green card means ‘yes please’, red means ‘I’m having a rest’. Simple, but effective. It’s a great way to try lots of different cuts that you might not necessarily order. There were too many for us to try comfortably, but what we sampled was all beautifully cooked. Red meat is served medium-medium rare as standard. If you want it differently, a nod to the staff would do the trick.

For the non-meat eater there was a corker of an a la carte menu including two vegan dishes which never felt like an afterthought. It was tricky to get the timing right to coincide the carnivore’s feast, but it worked. A 15-minute turn around for the kitchen was about right. For the purposes of the review we sampled two of the a la carte dishes, but one would definitely be enough.

A deliciously earthy black truffle and wild mushroom risotto impressed hugely. Very generous on the truffle and autumn vibes a plenty. Then a typical Brazilian moqueca. Essentially, it was a vegetable stew with coconut, but it was so rich and packed with flavour that it was elevated way beyond a humble peasant dish. The accompaniments were knock-out including more of the fiery mini peppers we’d enjoyed earlier, fried plantain, rice and a sort of grain/crumb that added texture and warmth to the dish. It was utterly delicious. Both were vegan.

There’s nothing not to like here in our book. The atmosphere was lively and relaxed, the food was ace and the service was pretty much perfect. A win whatever your culinary leanings.

Fazenda, 55 Colmore Row, Birmingham, B3 2AA. Tel: 0121 728 5656 fazenda.co.uk