Location: Fremantle – 96 High Street (close to Police Station), also in Subiaco and Armadale
One of the restaurants on my list to visit was Lapa but I was beaten to the punch by an invite to their new location in Fremantle. I gracefully accepted and headed there after work for the 6:30 pm booking. Lapa takes it’s name from one of the famous and traditional neighbourhoods of Rio de Janeiro.
I was early so took a round through Freo before arriving and being taken through to the bar where I met a variety of people including the co-owner and was chatting away.
Time had flown by and many people were already seated in the large open chic spaced restaurant. The site formerly housed NAB so they’ve done an amazing job transforming the area into something casual, including a courtyard at the back, which is where I happened to be seated (yep, I’m kinda outside even though I’m inside).
I wasn’t sure what the format of the night would be as it was 8pm and little food was to be seen. We were asked to book for different seatings but I think that went out the window. On an opening night, and for that matter, opening weeks, one can expect a few teething problems as things click into gear. Mind you, a kitchen never receives orders for all patrons in one go, they’re staggered in reality. A few dishes eventually came out of the kitchen and then the kitchen really started cranking the food out.
Lapa serves meat and lots of it. A large skewer was brought out with a guy holding it on each table and cutting it with a knife while a member of the table held the piece of meat being carved with tongs. That happened to be me so sorry for the lack of pictures which were difficult to take because the guys needed to make their way quickly from table to table.
On the menu one can order al a carte and they do cater for vegetarians, or you can go for the all you can eat which is what the VIP guests were offered tonight (it’s $50 per person). The way this system works is each person has a coaster. On one side its green which means yes please I’m still hungry. The other side is red and means no thank you I need a break or I’m done. This signals to the waiters whether to keep bringing you different skewered meats or bypass your table if all patrons are full.
We were served heaps of meat over the course of the night but we were also allowed to order sides and other sides also were offered to all. Below is a brief summary of some of the food:
- Beef pieces – Lovely flavour, tender, cooked nicely with a bit of pink.
- Pepper steak – Really really delicious flavour, the fat has been rendered perfectly so you get a lovely flavour explosion. Lovely pepper flavour, nicely seasoned. I grabbed a piece more when it came round again at the end of the night. The best dish of the night and one I would highly recommend.
- Salad with thin Parmesan slices with a nice sauce – you need to break the meat up and a nice salad with Parmesan and a sauce to liven up the greens makes all the difference.
- Pork sausage – chipolata, although small, it carried a lovely pepper, chili, and slightly spicy flavour. The pork sausage was also tender, moist, and really delicious and flavoursome. Another standout. When they came around towards the end of the night I took another because they were so good.
- Rump steak – Nicely cooked but lacking a sauce like Chimmichurri which would have enhanced the flavour. They actually do have sauces so maybe this was an unfortunate omission. So far the meats have been cooked to perfection, but like a nicely done roast, it benefits with gravy. So too, one would normally enjoy barbecued meats with a sauce of some type to add additional flavour to a lovely piece of meat.
- Another chunk of meat which I didn’t catch the name of – Tender and tasty but also needing a sauce or salsa.
- Chicken wings – Pretty good, nice and tender, good flavour with slight charring on the skin.
- Beef Spare ribs – Nice and tender, pretty tasty, no bones.
- Salad – a nice bowl of sharp salad with a slightly rich creamy type dressing. A welcome sight to all the meat consumed on the night.
- Shoestring chips – as long as they’re cooked well, no complaints, maybe just a tad more seasoning required but yum.
- Potato salad – this version was really light and possibly covered in a yoghurt type dressing as it was a tad sour and certainly not rich or creamy. Really enjoyable.
One could keep eating as much as they want but I preferred not to over do it as we are guests and I wanted to get a pretty good sample of what Lapa offers. I did pass on a few items as I was comfortably full. Apart from the food, the Brazilians like to party and being an opening night, that meant there had to be entertainment. There was a Carnival performance with a bunch of guys beating away on drums at a fast pace before two ladies announced their arrival with plenty of dancing. They also roped a few people into joining them dancing, formed a Conga line and proceeded to make their way swaying their way through the packed restaurant. After the early delay everyone was well fed and the night was a success. Thanks to all involved for a lovely night.
I’ll have to make a visit to the restaurant to get the proper experience without such a packed crowd to really enjoy what Lapa has to offer. Apart from the newly opened Fremantle location on 96 High Street near the police station, there’s their other two locations in Subiaco and Armadale. Check Lapa’s website for more info below.
Lapa Brazilian Restaurant Details
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