Muscat: Meat lovers in Muscat will soon have a new destination when Espeto Gaucho restaurant opens next week, offering endless servings of beef, lamb and chicken in a traditional southern Brazilian style.
Espeto Gaucho, opened by Hussain Fadhil and Partners, is a 'churrascaria,' or typical Brazilian steak house that serves its food in a 'rodizio,' or all-you-can-eat style. Servers, called 'passadores,' circulate among the tables with skewers of freshly grilled meats, giving diners all they want until they have had their fill.
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Each table has a card with a green side, indicating to the servers to keep coming with food, and a red side, telling them to stop. The cards can be turned as many times as the diners want.
It's a new dining concept in Oman, and one Kishore Singh, spokesperson for Espeto Gaucho, expects would appeal to the local market. He says the service style, with the 'passadores' expertly wielding large carving knifes in front of the customers, is showmanship with a purpose: to fill hungry stomachs with delicious food.
"They go from table to table with their skewers so that they don't waste food, but you can have as much as you want," Kishore says.
Diners have the option of ordering food a la carte or choosing a 'rodizio' from one of three price ranges. For OMR14, they can enjoy all the beef, lamb and chicken they want, along with all the sides and desserts. An OMR10 'rodizio' includes lamb and chicken and all the sides and desserts. Vegetarians can eat all the sides and desserts they want for OMR8.
"Here the 'churrascaria' is for all, whether you're a meat-eater or not. We want to include the vegetarians from the community, too," he says.
A typical meal at a 'churrascaria' starts with steaming hot little cheese buns called 'Pao de Queijo', fried 'cassava' or fried 'polenta', and garlic bread baked on a skewer. There will also be soups, like pureed pumpkin and coconut, and fresh salads, followed by three signature Brazilian dishes. These could include a delicious mashed potato dish filled with prawns and fresh herbs, topped with crispy Parmesan cheese, or caramelised cheese served with melon, lettuce, radishes and ranch dressing, which is a feast for the eyes as well as taste buds.
Finally, the meat begins to arrive. The options are diverse and each showcases the rich flavour of the meats, simply seasoned with salt and perhaps a sprinkle of pepper. There is fillet mignon wrapped in turkey bacon, prime rib, chicken drumsticks, lamb leg, and lamb chops, tenders chunks of top sirloin, and other succulent cuts of meat. The 'passadores' also come around with pineapple grilled with cinnamon and sugar, the fruit cutting through the fat from the meat and refreshing the palate.
"Here the focus is on the meat itself. It's not covered with sauce. You can get the real taste and you can taste different types of meat together," explains Chef Andrea Lewinski, who came to Muscat from Porto Allegre, Brazil six months ago.
Following the meat courses, if one still has any appetite left, comes the dessert cart, with a selection of creamy custards and mousses. Simple and delicious, they include irresistible delights like chocolate custard with lemon mousse, passion fruit mousse, strawberries with lady fingers and cream.
"'Churrascaria' desserts are very homey, not fine dining. After you've eaten so much meat you need a light, creamy, fresh dessert," says Chef Andrea, who wears a necklace with a tiny golden whisk and knife, indicating her passion for the culinary arts.
With such variety and delectable flavours, Brazil's cowboy cuisine will no doubt become popular here in Muscat.
Espeto Gaucho, which has a rustic atmosphere with a lot of wood and leather prints to complement the cave setting, will have its soft opening this Thursday and will open to the public in the first week of September.
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