I belong to a little club that holds monthly “meatings” where we gather for the purposes of good times, scintillating conversation and the savoury pleasures of meat. Last night, our meating was held at Bairrada, a churrasqueira on College, a block west of Dovercourt (1002 College). They have other locations: one at Keele and St. Clair and one in Mississauga at Highway 10 and Dundas.
People unfamiliar with Portuguese cuisine typically think that it’s just fish. They’re partly correct; being an ocean-facing nation that produced some of the world’s greatest navigators during the age of exploration, they know a thing or two about seafood. However, they’re also a meat-and-potatoes culture as well. In fact, they’re a meat, potatoes and sauce culture.
Bairrada, as is the custom with many Accordion City restaurants, is like Doctor Who’s TARDIS – bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside. There’s a fair bit of dining space inside the restaurant, but the real room is in its tree-canopied patio past the dining room. A barbecue lover would feel at home here.
One of their appetizers is listed in the menu in English as “flaming sausage”, and the name is truth in advertising:
Take a closer look — the dish used to flame the sausage is shaped like a pig:
We also had some fresh cheese, which had a very clean, baby mozzarella-like taste, which goes well with bread and sausage.
I had the house steak, which comes served in a pool of sauce with a sunny-side-up perched on top of it and a generous helping of fried potatoes sliced twice as thick as potato chips. I enjoyed it so much that I forgot to snap a photo of it, so you’ll have to use your imagination. I’ll have to snap a photo next time.
Wendy had the chicken, which comes served covered in piri-piri spice and with rice and potatoes to suck up the delicious juices:
You get a lot of bang for your buck at Bairrada: generous portions of delicious food cooked over an open flame, with appetizers typically below $10 and entrees typically $15 or less. If you’re looking for some meat and want to venture beyond the typical North American steakhouse, Bairrada’s a great place to visit.