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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mundo Churrasco, Bardon

I've never been to Brazil, but I think I'd like it. I've heard good things. I don't know a lot about Brazil. I know where it is, I know they speak Portugese, I know they've lent their name to arguably the most important advancement in female grooming since soap.
A few years ago I learnt something else. They can cook like bastards! Some of them.
I first went to a Brazilian BBQ, or Churrascaria back in Sydney. Man-alive! This one was in Leichhardt, on Norton St. Braza Churrascaria. Fuck it was good.
About twelve months later I went back there with a few friends from out of town for a late Sunday lunch, on the back of an already hellish weekend.
This place was the shit. Nineteen, that's NINETEEN different meats and cuts, and legitimately hot Brazilians bringing them around to. Things escalated. We left about two and a half hours, three bottle of outrageously-priced Chardonnay and our weight in meat later.
From there things deteriorated severly. If getting march from The Oaks, Neutral Bay before 7PM wasn't proof enough to quit, a sobering moment during "time-out" at Scruffy Murphy's at 2AM was.
Still, that few hours at Braza was one of the best eating out experiences I've had.
So, when I was driving back from Mt Coot-tha one afternoon with my housemate and his girlfriend through Bardon and spotted Mundo my heart skipped a beat as memories of that dreadful day came flooding back.
The next weekend we set Sunday aside to take a look, and try and recreate that fateful day in Leichhardt.
Man, was I disappointed. Actually my disappointment started before we even got there. I looked at their website beforehand and was well aware before I even set foot in the door that at best we'd be dining on five meat cuts, three of those beef.
I'll admit, I'm particularly lazy, but I'm not going around opening restaurants and creating these facades of amazing South American, meaty treats. These guys have really given this a half-arse shot. The inside looks legit though, again having not been to Brazil. It's nice.
They start off with these side dishes, Carreteiro rice, Brazilian potato salad, cassava chips, brazilian beans and chips. They're OK, but that's not why you go to Brazilian BBQ. I wasn't particularly taking much notice of the last time I had it, so I can't really comment on them.
The real reason you go to Brazilan BBQ is for the meat. Apparently, it's a cooking style from the old Brazilian Cowboy, aka Gaucho. They were battlers, didn't have a lot of money, and didn't exactly have any refridgeration while they were out shifting cattle and practicing their pseudo karate dancing. So, they would cut little strips of meat of a carcass, spear it, rub all kinds of spices and shit all over it and cook it over a fire, like a big-arse sheesh kebab.
That's perhaps not historically accurate, but the long then short of it is they were on to something.
Worse still than my inept take on the history of Churrascaria is Mundo's attempt to pull it off. They're rubbish. For starters there's the meat selection you can count on one hand. Seriously, for them to be worth their salt you need to be into, at least, two-hands territory, maybe even a foot.
While I think you can order from a menu, they whole attraction of this is to pay your cash (I think 35 bucks in this case) and just go nuts. The BBQ henchmen march around with their stakes of meat, offering and sawing off little morsels onto you plate. In doing this you want to be eating more that just beef, otherwise you'd just go and get a 35 buck steak. Admittedly, there was one lamb and one chick option, each which manage to salvage, to an extent, the sad attempt they'd made with the beef. Seriously, fucking Brahman hump? Does that even count as meat?
Perhaps, it all became clear as to what, or who was behind this folly when the whitest, oldest lady this side of the Andes came around to each table, introducing herself as the owner and asking how everything was. She was sweet, I guess, but less Rio, and more Ipswich, in which instance she was possibly punching above her weight.
Needless to say, it wasn't great. We did walk away full, largely on principle, though the foul taste of disappointment was the last thing left on our pallet.
Would I recommend it? Maybe if you'd never tried it before and had no comparison of the potential awesomeness you were missing out on. Sure the experience is novel, but the food, not great.
Mundo and Old Lady, step your Churrasco game up! 5/10.

Mundo Churrasco on Urbanspoon

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