Stephen had his 22nd birthday the other day, but it was on an inconvenient Thursday, so we decided to celebrate last night. Enter Pau Brasil. We've been wanting to try this place for a long time, since we're fans of the novel way of eating that is Churrascaria. With the rumored Brazilian entertainment at the end of the meal, we thought it would be an excellent way to celebrate.
Pau Brasil sits on Parramatta Rd, just past the Centenary Drive Bridge. It's a bit of an unfortunate placement, with very little opportunity for walk-in diners, just because it's on such a busy road and, unless you're looking for it, you probably wouldn't see it. It's also cheek-to-cheek with another Barbeque establishment, confusing customers if they don't remember the name.
[Fri-Sat $54pp, Wed, Thurs, Sun $42pp for all you can eat buffet and Churrascaria]
Our party of 16 got there at 6:30pm, and we were shown to our table. It was dead quiet, and we were the only customers (luckily, it started to fill up around 7pm). We were told that we could have anything from the buffet to start, and then when we were ready we would be served the skewers of meat.
I chose a green salad and the usual staples in a Brazilian restaurant: cassava chips, deep fried polenta, and banana fritters. The polenta was incredibly salty, but the beautifully crunchy exterior made up for that. The banana fritters were wonderful, soft and fragrant on the inside, with a thin, crispy batter on the outside.
When everyone had arrived, we asked that the skewers be brought out. One by one great slabs of meat were brought to our table with a polite "excuse me, would you like some?"
The chicken thighs were made to be very juicy with the rotisserie style of cooking they were subjected to. I identified the taste of lemon juice and some sort of herb (thyme?), and overall we were very happy with this skewer.
The sausage had a tough, chewy exterior and the inside was tender and spicy. The beef rump was tender, juicy, and conveniently had three levels of meat cooked rare, medium rare and medium.
Of the two types of pork we were served, the pork neck was the most tender and flavoursome. However, there was a crust on the leg that gave that particular dish an interesting contrast.
The haloumi cheese was browned and crispy, with a soft, gooey centre. The fish was flaky, moist and infused with the flavour of the lemon wedges that were roasted with the fish.
The pineapple was lightly roasted until tender and the outside was dusted in cinnamon. I particularly liked how juicy the cooking process made the pineapple flesh.
The website of this restaurant states that this type of dining is called “Rodizio de Churrasco”, which translates to "continuous service", but we did notice that after one round of each skewer we were abandoned for the other tables. We had to ask the waiters to come around again, and considering that we weren't given all of the dishes that are advertised on the website (and each person was given a small slice of meat from each skewer), we weren't initially given much food until we asked.
Afterwards, we had the Birthday Cake that Stephen's sister Melissa made for the night (and it was wonderful, and I'll post about it soon).
The entertainment (which is only on Fridays and Saturdays) started at about 9:30pm, and it was pretty fantastic. There were three men who played drums and also doubled as the capoeira performers, and they were excellent at both - the flips and the handstands down the stairs were particular crowd-pleasers. Three ladies were their counterparts, dancing the sambas and dressed in a way that was reminiscent of Carnivale.
There was a great section where they called up the people having birthdays for a bit of a dance (ha! Stephen!), and then a Merengue competition between five couples (which my friend Sonia won).
We had a good time last night, and the food was delicious and well cooked. Service was polite and friendly, with waiters kindly putting up with Stephen's father's jokes and accommodating my little sister's head-strong demands to do everything herself. The dancing was skillful and entertaining, and definitely made up for the somewhat stingy amount of meat we were originally offered.
214 Parramatta Rd
Phone: 02 9746 9046