Lapa – a desire for meat

A dinner at Lapa, as we would learn, consists of meat. Lots of meat. Joe told us about this place just before Christmas, selling us on their $49 all you can eat deal. Yeah, you heard me. I was skeptical at first, picturing a Sizzler-esque buffet chamber – or maybe $49 was a special Scoopon offer that applies only to grey lamb and expiry-date mince. Lapa is none of these things.

In a nutshell – Lapa is amazing. Lapa will make you look down your nose at ‘food & wine’ steakhouses and novelty smörgåsbord dining halls. Lapa is… well, this…

In the beginning, there was sausage. Meager on the plate. In our naïveté, we chortled at the sight of it. Little did we know that the menu’s description of an “endless feast” really does mean an endless feast.

Lapa’s endless feast comes in two phases – the first is the twelve course introduction to their wonderful, wonderful meat; second is the choice to order more of any dish on their endless feast menu. Sorry for the blurry picture, I got a bit excited.

As the first phase progresses, waiters bring round skewers and trolleys of meat that they slice or tong onto your plate. They ask you before serving whether you are interested in that particular dish, so you always have the option to refuse, but unless you’re a Lapa veteran or are there for a specific meaty purpose, you wouldn’t feel like refusing. At least not for the first six or seven courses.

Steak at three different levels of cookedness. This one’s a team effort – waiter slices, you tong. In this photo, Joe is tonging while Chips spectates with lust. See that little green coaster off to the side? That’s not a coaster, it’s a sign – green side up if you want more food; other side is red for when you need a break.

Well, in theory. The staff here are really happy to see you eat, and look very proud of you when you accept their food. So, you can flip the sign red side up, but you will cop a ribbing (GET IT?) when the next delicious meal comes out that you very reluctantly try to decline.

Don’t mistake the waiter’s expression for surliness. This is a look of concentration. At the time of this post, all the staff we met were passionate about the food and passionate about giving it to you. When you smile at them, they smile back. They joke, they flirt with the table. It is wonderful and we felt very special. This kind of proactively friendly service transforms the humble all you can eat gorging into even more of a dining experience.

It would have been about round 7 that my food coma started to come on, so memory gets a bit fuzzy. I think this is a piece of beef rib with crackling. Not sure, though. Everything began to look the same at this point. My forehead was radiating with warmth and meatiness. I accepted this bit of pasta-less eggplant lasanha from our vegetarian escort only out of curiosity and needing something to assist with meat digestion.

One of our lady friends has limited space in her pregnant belly, so she ordered a tasting plate à la carte. Lapa doesn’t usually offer the menu option if the table is going for the endless feast, but they very kindly gave us an exception for both mum-to-be and vegetarian. The taster looked awesome, had almost all of the dishes we had in the feast. This would be a very good value meal.

Close up of the yes/no signs.

Lapa interior vista.

And that’s it. No one left hungry, felt sated until the following morning. All went home happy because of the cheerful, friendly staff.

Aaaah, thinking about this place makes me smile. I’m already planning to go again.

Lapa Brazilian Restaurant on Urbanspoon