543 Sukhumvit Rd Khlong Toei Nuea Watthana Bangkok 10110
You’ve got to ask yourself: ‘Do I love barbecue? Do I really love barbecue? Have I tried the best? Have I really tried the best? Well, have you? If you’ve never eaten Brazilian churrasco you are about to enter the Meat Matrix.
We’re looking at you Americans, South Africans, Aussies, Kiwis and all the other great pretenders to barbecue Nirvana. You cannot compete. You were defeated more than 300 years ago by Gauchos, South American cowboys, who mastered the art of barbecuing through simplicity. Skewer the finest cut of beef. Season with salt. Cook over a fire or grill until dripping, succulent and perfect. Slice. Serve. Done.
So you’re sitting in your Bangkok condo salivating like Homer Simpson over a pork chop and mumbling to yourself ‘I want! I want!’ Well, you can. Located on Sukhumvit Road – a brisk five-minute walk to, and languorous, contented walk back from the MRT – is Fogo (it means ‘fire’ in Portuguese), the rustic temple to the Church of Churrasco.
“Would you like to try the food so we just don’t talk? We eat!” says Fogo’s manager Fernando Hilareski when we arrive. Okay. Normally, a Chimcard review is ‘balanced’ and ‘considered’, sampling a variety of items on the menu and weighing up the pros and cons. Not this time. We’re going straight for the 1,800 baht buffet. Let’s be fair, for the buffet price you get access to a wonderful salad bar with the extras of prosciutto, Italian salamis and golf ball-sized servings of grana padano, not to mention the smokey awesomeness of the frejiada (black bean and pork) soup.
But we’re not here for that. The manager tells us that there are 17 grilled options; including six beef (all from Australia), four pork, one lamb (from New Zealand) and three chicken. In a traditional churrasco the fatty Pichana, or rump sirloin, is considered the Holy Grail of the beef selections. It is usually cut into rounded caps when sliced from a giant skewer at the table.
Our first cut of beef was Alcatra, or top sirloin, carved at the table and leaking wonderful juices. Next was the leg of lamb. Sliced very thinly, pink and tender, and nothing like the British colonial version of Sunday lunches (although I did ask for mint sauce). And then ‘she’ arrived at our table, in little waves of sizzling, dripping beef capped with gentle curves of fat.
Chimcard’s photographer leapt out of her chair to capture the moment the chef’s knife blemished the perfection of the Pichana. She took a few shots and rushed back to her seat. ‘Are you alright?” I asked. ’No,’ she replied, ‘I want to eat!’ And so the buffet proceeded...
‘Marinated pork ribs, sir?’ Yes, why not.
‘Chicken wings wrapped in bacon?’ Of course!
‘More Pichana, sir?’ I’d be a fool if I said no.
By the way, and this is a big one, you can eat as much as you want as long as you want. The Brazilians even have a system where you can flip a disc showing green for more, or red for stop. At Fogo you can do that throughout the buffet on anything you like, whether it be the best cut of meat or a plate full of spicy Brazilian sausages.
What can we say? Fogo is one of the best barbecue restaurants in Bangkok, is easily accessible by public transport, and, has parking in a nearby soi.
Go there, amigos!
Location: 539 Sukhumvit Rd, five minutes walk from Sukhumvit MRT
Telephone: 092 227 2758
Opening hours: 17:00 - 23.30
Chimcard Offer: 25% off food
* Prices shown may be subject to change.