I just noticed that the latest trend for the restaurant scene in Dubai is South American. We have welcomed several restaurants such at Maya, Fuego, Café Habana and Frevo all with open arms, after all who can resist Latin flavors?
When someone tells me they live on the Palm, I think of speed bumps and early morning traffic. When someone tells me about a hotel on the Palm, I think of the romance of a near by escape. Technically off the coast of mainland Dubai, hotels on the Palm assume the role of a several hour vacation.
The newly opened Frevo hit both marks of a South American restaurant, Brazilian actually, and a location in the Fairmont Palm, so a table by default is booked, 12 guests join in and et voi-la a FIOD Tuesday dinner is ready to go.
Entering the Fairmont Palm, I have to admit, I did expect something a touch more luxurious, although in true Fairmont form the hotel is traditional to sophisticated chic.
Walking into Frevo the live music greets me and starts easing me into the sounds and hence flavors of Brazil. Doing my tradition lap around the restaurant, I stumble across a diagram of a cow and get an impromptu lesson from a chef informing where each cut of meat comes from.
We take our seats on the Terrace to enjoy the beautiful weather as the waiter informs us how dinner will unfold. First comes soup, then salad, several cuts of meat and chicken followed by dessert.
The beef broth soup with white beans arrives in a cast iron pot and is places at the center of the table to be served individually by the chef. With my soup served, I break off a piece of bread and a slam-dunk it into my bowl to soak up all its flavors. My bread pick is the onion roll which tastes exactly like onion soup (Tip #1).
I walk over to the salad station, and queue up for the Saladista to make me a tailored salad. After realizing how long it would take to reach her, I say “Maybe next time Mrs. Saldista” and peruse the already made salads (Tip #2). Some of the most interesting include a carrot and coconut salad and grilled hearts of palms.
The soup and salads have been taken care of and now, finally its time, with one click of the button, the Frevo Call for Meat Beacon is turned from red to green signaling to he kitchen to let loose on the beef.
And it begins, Beef Rib Eye, Rum Beef (Picanha), Flank steak, Strip Loin, Boneless Short Ribs, Tri Tip, Top Sirloin, Lamb chops, Leg of Lamb, Chicken Drums and Chicken thighs. With the sheer amount of choices don’t fill up on soup or salad and PACE YOUR SELF! (Tip #3)
The chef brings the extra large skewer of meat to the table and shaves off a section for me to grab with my personal tong. The first cut of meat is the sirloin, and as I am seated at the head of the table, I get the first shaving. A bit too well done for my liking I think. When the next round comes along, I know to ask him for a cut more towards the center of the meat (Tip #4).
Sampling the sides I pop a deep-fried banana into my mouth, crispy on the outside, and warm and soft on the inside. It’s a delight but I question, have we reach dessert already?
The cuts of meat come and go, I gracefully accept a slice, pour on some beautiful spicy Gaucho Beef jus and enjoy, pleasant chitchat if you will, until the Rum Beef Picanha arrives where an in-depth love story unfolds. Cooked they way I like it, medium to medium rare and melt in your mouth bite after bite. The dilemma soon unfolds of, I’m too full but I want/need another piece. For next time, I’m going to start with the Picanha (Tip #5).
If you enjoy your life spicy, ask for the super spicy tomato based sauce to go along with your cuts of meat (Tip #: 6).
And finally, the grilled pineapple, a refreshing choice after the prolonged meat opera. Taking a bite of the fruit I do wish they cooked it longer. The pineapple is composed of such rich sugars that cooking it until the edges get caramelized is a MUST.
Even after skipping a couple of rounds of meat, I surrender and say no more, I push on the Frevo Call for Meat Beacon to turn it red and sit back on my chair. Happy that I arrived in a cab, I know my ride home will include some dosing off (Tip #7).
Buckling my self in the car, I close my eyes and wonder. I’m sure when they were creating Frevo they though, lets put everything people enjoy into one concept.
A button for stop and go, a Saladista, a chef who pours your soup, a live band and meat that gets cut at your table. Is that too gimmicky?
Frevo has good quality food so they shouldn’t worry about scaling back on the gimmicks and just let the food shine through.
On more than one occasion the meat was over cooked while the pineapple was under cooked, minimal tweaks that can greatly enhance the dining experience.
Oh and one more thing, on weekends they serve shrimp and lobster, which is a bit unfair. I believe weekday dinners sacrifice more to be at the restaurant so I, I mean they, deserve their shrimp.
Alas, a solid value for money meal which I always respect, a touch too much on the gimmicks, but hey if you like that you know where to go.
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