…Six months into a backpacking adventure around the world with a bloke who I’d met less than eight months before we set off, who around about now, exactly 10 years ago, on 30th October 2006, was about to drop down on one knee on Copacabana Beach and pop the big question!
It was all very romantic… eventually – there was a lot of faffing from Mr T (as my husband is fondly known), and he did present me with a rather ghastly lump of metal purchased for all of ten Dollars from a Brazilian market stall. He also led me to believe for a good few weeks that he had no intention of replacing it with platinum and diamonds on return to England and that I should be bloody grateful that such thought had gone into it.
Still, ten years later we are still going strong largely down to Iain eventually agreeing to the diamond. So last night we decided to celebrate Brazilian-style in new Leeds restaurant BOSSA.
Eating and drinking played a big part in our twelve month back-packing adventure. We are big foodies, and we’ll try anything once. Locusts in Thailand, Guinea Pig in Peru, sheep’s balls and intestines in Argentina, deep fried tarantula in Cambodia… actually we drew the line with the deep fried tarantula. For those of you who refuse to believe that something so absolutely awful is consumed in Cambodia like we consume Seabrook crisps here in Yorkshire – here’s the evidence…
The culinary scene is Brazil however is far more toothsome. All-you-can-eat meat buffets known as Churrascarias (barbecue restaurants) are to Brazilians what The Toby Carvery is to us Brits. Just a hell a lot tastier. Once you’ve filled up on copious amounts of sushi, salads, paella, bread, cheeses, seafood etc from the various serve-yourself food bars, attentive waiting staff circle the room offering up to 15 cuts of meat, and if that wasn’t enough, most of these generous eateries also throw in the huge bowls of fries and onion rings for free.
If you’ve not been to a Brazilian BBQ restaurant before, imagine a waiter stood in front of you with a mini donar kebab spit slicing slices of meat directly onto your plate. Only it’s not dirty donar, it’s sirloin steak cooked to perfection on a wood-fired BBQ. Then another waiter appears with a spit full of chicken wings, followed by another serving sausages, then the ever so succulent lamb joint comes by, and delicious marinated pork, followed by another cut of beef…. you get my drift right?
Now if you are like me and suffer from EBTB syndrome (eyes bigger than belly) then by plate two of sushi, there’s certainly no room for 15 slices of meat and a bowl of fries. Still, I gave it a good go on a few occasions and suffered the ingestion that went with it.
Another highlight of Brazil is their national cocktail – The Caipirinha. (pronounced kai-pee-REEN-ya should you ever fancy ordering one). Brazilians don’t mess around and this particular cocktail is not for the light-hearted. It’s basically sugar, a squeeze of lime and a shit load of rum. And believe me, one too many of these and you can get into all sorts of trouble.
Last night was of course kicked off with a Caipirinha – it would have been rude not to really. And then another. And then another. Needless to say I can’t actually remember leaving the restaurant, so they must have been bloody good. Brazil’s national Beer – Bharma is also very good too.
BOSSA, which is owned by the same company as Ferzenda in Leeds, focuses only on the churrasco (BBQ) so one can’t overdo it on three bowls of Paella and half a smoked salmon before the main event like I did several times in Rio. Although BOSSA do serve up a little appetizer of chicken wings and delicious coleslaw beforehand.
You don’t need to book at BOSSA, just rock up and take a seat. Brazilians don’t do reservations. They like chaos (in a fun way). They don’t live by order, they live for excitement. Brazilians are exuberant, exciting, colorful, passionate and there is something about BOSSA that reflects this so well. As you approach the restaurant, which is situated right next to The Corn Exchange on Cloth Hall Street in Leeds City Centre, its bold exterior screams fun. It’s by no means as slick as its counterpart Fazenda just streets away, but then it’s not meant to be.
BOSSA is a casual dining experience in an almost fast-food like environment but luckily there is nothing fast about it. Not in the rushed sense anyway. We sat down, ordered our Caipirinhas and within five minutes the men with the meat where by our sides, carving generous slices of perfectly cooked meats. Our plates were never empty, and the waiters didn’t stop coming our way until we said ‘no more!’. It was a long, leisurely, relaxed experience in chilled-out surroundings with impeccable service from friendly waiters and waitresses.
For one night, we were back in the hustle and bustle of Rio, eating and drinking and laughing whilst getting slowly sloshed on Caipirinhas. Reminiscing over the many situations we got ourselves into, and luckily, out of. The amazing places we got to visit and the memories we made.
The only thing that BOSSA was missing was a view of Sugarloaf or Christ the Redeemer – maybe they’ll consider erecting a miniature version on the pedestrianised street outside sometime soon…
Oh and tonight we’ll be dining on Dominos pizza and Veuve Cliquot- just as we did 10 years ago to this very day.
Visit BOSSA’s website here