Carnaval is here


carnaval caipirinhaThis Wednesday, I had the pleasure of getting a sneak preview of the much anticipated new Brazilian BBQ restaurant Carnaval. Located in the East Exchange District in downtown Winnipeg on Waterfront Drive, the restaurant is opening its doors today.

It’s second floor dining room offers a not-too-often-seen view of Portage and Main and the Human Rights Museum. We were first led to the cozy bar with very comfortable stools which is a nice change. There is a delectable looking tapas menu that we didn’t try that night but will be doing so in the very near future.

As we were led upstairs to the dining room, we were overcome with the smell of barbecue. The BBQ is not something you usually get to see, it’s located right in the middle of the dining room allowing you to smell and see the 48 skewers of meats rotating on three levels.

This was a practice night of sorts for the restaurant, but clearly the people behind the scenes are experienced. The meat was flavourful in a way only an expert gaucho could make possible and the sides were just as delicious. There is no room for a salad bar like in many other churrascaria’s, but that isn’t a bad thing. Sides, or acompanhamnetos in Brazilian, just like the meats are served rodizio style.

carnaval gaucho

Some of the sides include panzanella (bread, tomato, and bocconcini salad), maionaisse (Brazilian potato salad), chickpea salad, arroz cubano (Cuban style rice), heart of palm salad, fried, mashed potatoes, roasted yams and potatoes and feijoada ( a black bean stew with beef and pork). My favourites were the panzanella, and chickpea salads. Pao de queijo (a cheese-filled bun) and queijo de coahlo , a soft cheese grilled on skewers are automatically brought to each table. The queijo de coahlo instantly became one of my new favourite cheeses.

carnaval sidescaranval queijo

Like at all other Brazilian barbecue restaurants, you are provided with a card that will indicate you want the gaucho to stop by your table with meat, or whether you’re full and will pass. Simply flip it up on the green side for yes, red side tells them no.

carnaval--simnao

Sides and the barbecued meats are all included for the price of $39 for dinner. Keep in mind, it’s rodizio style, which means all you can eat. Drinks and dessert are extra and I’d suggest saving room. We tried the caipirinha’s made with real lime juice, and the tamarind creme brulee. There are a few wines available by the glass, but there is a larger choice for wines by the bottle including Brazilian and Uruguayan wines. We chose a bottle of Tierra de Luna, a Argentine Cabernet Sauvignon that we found paired well with the variety of meats.

I left very satisfied and will return again. Very soon to be exact, we already have reservations. I’m looking forward to going again after they’ve been open for a while and I recommend you make a reservation soon because by the looks of it and the response from the public,  it is going to be busy for months to come!

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