Carnaval Churrascaria

I have this gastranomic fantasy. You know these buffets you get? I dream of a buffet where all the funny stuff that I don't really eat isn't served (Minestrone Soup, get out of here; Radish Salad, you too). Instead, replace them all with prime cuts of meat. Lots and lots of meat. Better still, make people bring it to the table so all you have to do is to concentrate stuffing your face.

Well, I'm not the only one who thinks this way. The churrascaria originated from Brazil, in particular the pampas of Rio Grande do Sul. There, the lush grass feeds herds of cattle and sheep and the eating is good and plentiful. And as the farms are home to some of the finest livestock in the world, the dinner tables groan with the weight of, well, you guessed it, meat. The basic idea of a churrascaria is that people come to your table and keep carving up the meat until you can take no more.

Sounds good to me, bring it on.

Although the city lights of KL are a long way away from South America, there are not one but two churrascaria here in the Klang Valley. One near my home in Damansara Jaya is Carnaval Churrascaria.(If you're curious, the other is Bom Brazil Churrascaria in Bukit Bintang.)

The place is an unassuming corner lot which doesn't look entirely appealing from the outside. It wouldn't have even attracted me if I didn't know about it. I reckon what they need is an extremely large banner that says ALL THE MEAT YOU CAN EAT. That'll do it for me.

It's not all meat, of course. Technically, if you're a vegetarian, you can gorge out on the salad bar, although it'd be a pretty expensive salad bar at RM45 per head. Lots of lettuce in that.

But the salad is at best, window dressing - at worst, it distracts you from the main event. Spit after spit after spit of meat brought to your table. They actually carve it onto your plate. Meat, juices, blood and all.

The restaurant advertises "Minimum 10 Different Cuts of Meat, Fish and Chicken" and although it may seem churlish, some of these "cuts" include chicken gizzards and hearts. Never mind, there's still plenty to choose from.

Like burnt steak, which tastes as if it has salt rubbed into the outside and grilled on a high heat until it burns. And lamb, succulent and juicy. And chicken which is just well done. And these beef medallions that ooze blood when sliced right onto your plate. And did I mention that it's all you can eat?

There's also dessert - that night we had grilled caramalised pineapple, which is a lot nicer than it sounds.

The only downside is that you have to be brave enough to attract the attention of the waiters, otherwise you risk not having food brought to you. The system used in other churrascarias is that there is a little signboard that's green on one side and red on the other (and, yes, the colours mean "go" and "stop") - it would have been good if a system like that was used here.

All in all, it's acutally an extremely enjoyable experience, and even the price is reasonable - RM45 hardly buys you a good steak these days.

Carnaval Churrascaria
77 Jalan SS 22/19
Damansara Jaya
For reservations call: 019-2111133/012-3383832

Bom Brazil Churrascaria is at 35, Changkat Bukit Bintang 50200.
posted on Friday, December 05, 2003 - permalink
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