I often mention on here about how many news restaurants have opened in Leeds over the past year or two but, even better than that, it’s worth noting how many are succeeding. One such place is Bem Brasil Leeds who just celebrated their first birthday and threw a fantastic party to mark the occasion. I popped down with Jennie, Charlotte and a couple of our colleagues to help them celebrate and to find out more about their vegetarian offering.Brazilian food probably isn’t the first thing you would think of as being vegetarian-friendly and, yes, a large proportion of it isn’t. Does that mean that veggies can’t feast at a Brazilian restaurant? Quite the opposite!Bem Brasil’s all-you-can-eat set-up means there’s a generous buffet section that’s around 80% meat-free, with various salads, vegetables, potatoes, gorgeous crispy polenta, crispy deep-fried banana, and more. There are plenty of sauces and dressings on offer too.
I visited the buffet three times – for a starter of salads, a main of the hot dishes, and a third trip to get seconds of my favourites!Throughout the evening we were also treated by the friendly staff to caipirinhas (one of my all-time favourite cocktails), that got stronger and stronger as the evening progressed, and some wonderfully fruity sangria. With it being Bem Brasil’s birthday, there was also live music, dancing and lots of balloons, sparkles and festivities.As I was tucking into my food from the buffet, the serving staff were bringing around the meat for my fellow diners. I’m used to eating out with meat-eating friends so it I don’t let it bother me too much, however I think Bem Brasil could do with a better system to notify the waiters who doesn’t want to even be offered the meat. They have small discs with a ‘yes please’ / ‘no thanks’ option and, though I placed mine permanently on its red side, I still had to say ‘no thank you’ pretty much every time.
Therefore they could definitely do with a third option for ‘vegetarian’ as the ‘no thanks’ tends to get ignored.Having said that, the waiters do bring round both garlic bread and cinnamon-coated grilled pineapple on skewers – both of which were amongst the best bites of the night – so it’s still worth keeping an eye for when they come out!
Overall, Brazilian food probably wouldn’t be my first choice as a veggie, but it’s always a relief to learn that not only can you eat meat-free here, but you still get a delicious meal in a fantastic atmosphere! The vegetarian meal at Bem Brasil Leeds is significantly cheaper too and pretty good value.
Have you eaten Brazilian food as a vegetarian? How did you find it?