In the realm of the Corn Exchange, the independents loom
large. There’s a bazaar of colours, and a smattering of bright personalities.
Even Reds, on the corner of Cloth Hall Street and Call Lane, was one-of-a-kind
once upon a time. In this area, then, success seems to come hand-in-hand with
Herein steps Bossa Grill, a rodizio with a difference. The
brainchild of another popular restaurant in Leeds, Bossa turns away from the trend
of being tackily Brazilian themed. You'll find no Christ the Redeemer statue here, and
no Carnival outfits (though there is a famous Brazilian footballer on the wall
adorned with a botanical headdress). Instead, it offers a classic,
sophisticated take on Rio casual dining. As with other rodizio style
restaurants, skewers of meat are delivered to your table until you say stop –
or in this case, until you turn your cow to red. But with Bossa, which quite literally
translates as “a certain flair,” you get the culinary theatrics – slicing and
sizzling and salivating – with expert service, and refreshingly clean, slick
and simple branding.
In line with this aesthetic, the food and drinks menus have been skilfully curated and
refined, leaving a fairly small selection but of sincere quality. There’s a
lovely array of cocktails, including Brazilian staple the capirinha, and the
strawberry heavy Gringo Juice, as well as a beer list which boasts a headliner
of the Tailgate Peanut Butter Milk Stout. You could definitely imagine coming
here on a weekend purely for drinks.
Foodwise, for £12.90 at lunchtime and £17.90 in the
evening, you get a green pass to all the
rump meat, lamb, pulled beef, chicken wings, and pork belly in a cheese sauce
(weird but wonderful) you can eat. There’s also a guest meat which changes
regularly. To taste, the food is aromatic and perfectly complimented by the
included sides of batatas (chips) and their slaw, which comes bizarrely but
wonderfully complete with olives and sultanas, amongst other things.
For an extra £2 you can choose from an array of extra sides,
including feijoada (which is a kind of black bean stew combined with pulled
beef), charred sweet potato wedges served with avocado mayo, ovos picantos – a
fried egg topped with Brazilia caponata, faioja, and cheese – and coxinhas,
meat covered in dough, battered and fried.
It’s easy to get a little swept up in the British mentality of
stretching the limits of the system here, of attempting to get the most bang for your buck. But really, at Bossa it’s best to pace
yourself, to slow it down, and soak in this uniquely charming, buzzing
atmosphere. Dinner here is something to be enjoyed, not to be rushed, with an
emphasis on sharing food along with conversation. And if you’ve still got room
after the skewers have left, the dulche de leche cheesecake is not be missed –
its deliciousness is of Olympic proportions.