Monday, October 08, 2007

A Protein-Packed Saturday Lunch

Everybody loves carbs, or so some might say. But there are times when one feels really carnivorous and just need WANT meat. For times like that, there's always churrascaria to fall back on.

Churrascaria, a Brazilian cowboy barbecue, is truly a meat fest. A big chunk of meat is usually salted, skewered and grilled. Nothing too complicated, bringing out the original flavours of the meat.

Out of the seven or eight places offering churrascaria here in Singapore, I've only been to Carnivore at CHIJMES and Samba at the old Big Splash Complex. Hence, I wouldn't qualify to comment on the standard of churrascaria here or else where for that matter, having just eaten churrascaria thrice.

The attractive lunch pricing together with the fact that it's in Katong Village which I've never stepped into before, attracted me there for lunch last Saturday. The interior of the restaurant had reddish brick walls, stark concrete ceilings and wooden floors. In addition, the Brazilian paraphernalia placed around certainly gave a 'Brazilian Outback' feel with a homely touch.

Seeing that Samba has outlets in Sao Paulo and a Brazilian chef who takes care of the meats and their grilling, I would assume that it should be fairly authentic... until the chicken char siew came along.

It had a red hue and a sticky layer which was too sweet for my liking. Nothing like the regular char siew. But being a Brazilian place, I don't think anyone should hold it against them. Probably just an effort to please local palates.

The meat items came regularly at short intervals. When the passador brought the pork ribs to the table, a heavenly smell wafted in the air. It was the smell of freshly roasted meat. Tender and fragrant, I wished they would just offer the whole rack. But one should be gracious and not deny other diners the chance of a rib or two yea?

Then came the pork sausage which had a dense meat filling encased by a skin that 'snapped'. Flavourful. The garlic beef was a little tough and needed a bit of effort in chewing. Honestly, I was disappointed with the beef that day. I guess dinner I had at their old Big Splash Complex offered more beef items and of a better quality.

On the bright side, the lamb was really good. This cow hates to admit it but the lamb surpassed the beef items that day. It had a rich flavour without the nasty strong taste that is often associated with lamb. I'm no lamb fan but this I had seconds... and thirds.

The grilled dory fish was also delicious. Moist and lightly marinated, its soft flesh was a respite from all the other meat.

The grilled pineapple was dusted with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg as pointed out by Ewan, my east side khaki and makan buddy. This was an instant palate cleanser which helped one to engage in more meat. I knew fruits were friends.

Another grilled fruit served was the banana. This was my first time having a grilled banana in churrascaria. Its soft flesh that exuded sweetness made it perfect for dessert!

Besides the churrascaria items, there was also a cold and hot selection of food. Over at the cold food section, one could get dishes like potato salad, alfalfa sprouts, pickled papaya, sauteed mushrooms, chickpeas and greens.

Food items available at the hot food counter included mashed potato, spaghetti, stews, potato wedges and sauteed eggplant and long beans. Do give the Feijoada a try. It's a popular Brazilian stew of black beans and pig ears but the one here had trotters instead of ears.

Overall, $22+ for a Saturday lunch with about 10 to 12 meats is certainly worth it. During the weekdays, the lunch price drops to $13.80+ with an offer of about six meats.

I'm planning to go for a churrascaria dinner maybe at Mama Lucia or Vibes when the next protein craving comes. I so regret not going for the special churrascaria offered at Vibes that featured various premiere meats such as Black Angus and Wagyu. But my friend Ivan did so for those who want an account of that event, head here for a good review.

Samba Brazil Steakhouse
86 East Coast Road
(Katong Village)
Tel: 6348 8406
Opens: 11.30am-2.30pm, 6-10.30pm daily

Chew On This: Fans of Archipelago Beers would be happy to know that their range of beers are served on tap here!

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