Tis the season for jolliness and feasting! Chef and I decide to give our elasticated pants a test run and start our festive over-indulgence early. I book dinner at the all-you can-eat Brazilian Barbecue restaurant, Lapa, in Subiaco.
We are warmly greeted by a waiter, with a Latino accent, who takes us to a cosy booth by the window. The atmosphere is buzzing. From the samba beats in the background, to the meaty aromas wafting from the open kitchen to the huge favela mural – we feel like we have stepped into a little piece of Rio.
Lapa is a bohemian neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro. The restaurant is a unique and interactive dining experience in Perth, though if we were in Brazil it would be a typical Brazilian barbeque restaurant known as a Churrascaria.
Lapa is fully booked on a Tuesday night. A popular place indeed – particularly with groups. It’s not the place for a quiet, intimate meal, as the noise level in the dining room is quite loud. There is a small al la carte menu, though it’s clear that most people are here for the “Endless Feast”, which is the option we all order.
Chef enjoys an ice cold Argentinian beer. Bottled Brazilian and Columbian beers are also available, as well as some local favourites. I have a strawberry and lime Caipirinha ($14). The Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail, which is made with Cachaça, a sugarcane spirit from Brazil. It feels very summery and is absolutely delicious. The wine list is good, made up of some interesting wines from Margaret River, the Barossa, Spain and a few Chilean wines too, for those wanting to keep with the South American theme.
The Endless Feast involves a lot of sides and as many morsels of meat as you can handle. We’re each given coasters. The green side reads “Yes please/por favor” and the other side is a red “no thank you”. As the meat waiters visit each table with their skewers of meat, the idea is you turn the coaster over to red when you are full or need a breather. To begin our feast, our waitress brings a bowl of pao de queijo to the table. Little Chef tucks into the soft cheese bread balls – they are deliciously different.
Our table is soon brimming with sides to share. We have a simple garden salad, potato salad, shoestring fries, a tasty black bean stew, rice, moreish crumbed banana fritters, as well as some sauces – Brazilian salsa and Chimichurri.
The meat waiters come around at about 5 minute intervals. Offering whatever meat on a giant skewer they have. We start off with some frango com chilli. I like a bit of culinary theatre. The tender chilli marinated chicken is calved for us at the table. The spicy chicken thighs pack quite a punch!
The next waiter to stop at our table has barbecued picanha. This is beef rump cap, a very popular cut of meat in Brazil. The waiter cuts off a few slices for us. It’s perfectly medium rare and so succulent and tasty.
We start with a small morsel of this and that, it’s actually quite deceptive, as soon we become very full. We also try pork belly, chicken wings and garlic steak. Our meal soon turns into a battle of wits to see who is the first to turn their coaster over to red.
There were a few things we simply couldn’t fit in – the chicken with cheese, pork scotch fillet, beef rib, garlic chicken, black pepper steak and not for the faint hearted, coracao de frango otherwise known as chicken heart!
As well as the mountain of meat there are plenty of other dishes too. A white sauce lasagne is brought to the table, as well as caesar salad and our serve of fries is also replenished. We couldn’t fault the meal, though we agreed it would have been great to have chunky chips instead of fries to soak up the meaty juices. Little Chef enjoys a chocolate “petit gateau” for dessert. Goodness knows where he found the room to fit that in!
The service at Lapa is excellent. Over the course of the evening we encounter many different wait people, each as cheery and helpful as the next. They interact well with Little Chef, making jokes and asking him questions. We really appreciate that, as so many people ignore children when dining out.
Chef and I are quite the carnivores, so we relished the chance to try so many different meats and cuts of meat. We’d certainly return for the meat-fest. The festive atmosphere and long tables make it perfect for dinner with a group. Elasticated pants are absolutely essential!
At a glance
■ Lapa Brazilian Barbecue
375 Hay Street
Phone 9381 1323
■ Opening times
Lunch Fri – Sun 12noon
Dinner 7 days – 6 till late
value for money 4
■ style – Brazilian Barbecue
■ wine – decent wine list with
some Chilean wines available.
■ Chef – Amar Srivastava
■ Owners – Mark Nylund & David McAuliffe
■ feel – loud, fun atmosphere.
■ wheelchair access – yes
■ cost – Endless feast $50
Mains – $16 to $49
Dessert – $12
■ all in all – a unique dining
Experience in Perth. Great fun.
Superb meat. Good times!