When you think Leichhardt, you don't usually think Brazilian churrascuria. Gelaterias and Italian restaurants as far as the eye can see, sure, but gaucho style meat on sticks? Not so much
Braza is good value, if you play it right. $38 gets you all the meat you can eat as well as all sorts of sides. But this is where you need to be careful - the sides, for the most part, are all quite starchy and filling like crisp and fluffy cassava (a type of south American root vegetable that also interestingly, contains enzymes that, when activated, produce cyanide) chips, potato salad and sticky banana fritters.
They do cocktails, too. There's a caipirinha (made from cachaça - a Brazilian liquor distilled from sugarcane - with sugar and lime added) as well as a drink involving cachaça, peanuts and cream (we'll go back for that one). Their mojitos are incredibly tart to the point of being undrinkable but ask for sugar on the side and do some corrective sweetening. They also, very coolly, sell longnecks -something you see very rarely in restaurants.
Speaking of which, their sound system looks like something from an '80s rumpus room and pumps out the usual South American greatest hits but we see they have a copy of Green day's Dookie sitting on top of one of the speakers. Must be for after hours.
Meat wise, you'll want to hold out for as long as you can - the interesting stuff like chicken hearts don't come out until later. There's some strange stuff on the menu, too, like cheese filled hunks of steak but the pork neck is juicy and the pork ribs are hours of fun. And if you're of a mind, there are chunks of grilled pineapple dripping with syrupy sweetness. But the most interesting thing here are the tiny little chillies that come as a side. They look like eeny, weeny vine ripened tomatoes but burn like Dante's inferno. They're not quite as deadly as those little scuds you find in Thai cooking or those deadly slow burning habanero missiles but they still pack a mighty burning wallop.
Braza is fun but it's by no means fantastic - they've got a long way to go in terms of pace and need to work on their cocktails but you can't go far wrong with all-you-can-eat meat on metal swords. And there's always Bar Italia up the road for dessert.
|Venue name:||Braza - Leichhardt||Contact:|
13 Norton Street
|Opening hours:||Lunch Thu-Sun noon-3.30pm; Dinner daily 6pm-midnight|