Finding your inner Brazilian Cowboy in Nairobi


Fogo Gaucho Brazilian steak house in Nairobi, Kenya photographed by Susan Wong 2012

It’s been almost half a century since cattle ranching has been introduced in the Rio Grande do Sul region of South America’s largest country, Brazil.  Brazilian cowboys, much like those we’re use to seeing in classic Western films, the Gauchos herded the cattle through arid land, and gave birth to a new style of cooking in the region, Brazilian Barbecue.

Brazilian Barbeque is very different from the popularized American culinary technique, where most meats are barbequed through slow-smoking or infusing the aromas of different smoked woodchips into the meats.  Also unlike traditional Indian barbeque, extensive spices and aromatic marinades are rarely used except for poultry and lamb.

Brazilian Barbeque is simple and to the point, similar to Kenya’s Nyama Choma.  The Brazilian formula calls for fresh meat coated with salt to sit for 30 minutes or so, and then placed over the fire.  To keep the meats moist and succulent, the chefs constantly baste it with a salt-water concoction during the actual cooking process.  Held together on long sword-like skewers, the meats are barbequed over an open fire on racks with the fattier meats placed on top so that their juices can drip on the rest of the skewers, ensuring absolutely no flavour is lost.

At Fogo Gaucho Churrascaria, a traditional Brazilian steak house in Nairobi, diners can enjoy a bit of the Rio Grande do Sul-way of life in Kenya.  Served by traditional looking Fogo Gauchos or literally, “Fire Cowboys.” These waiters sport period blue costumes, black leather boots and red ascot tie-like handkerchiefs, serving up more than a dozen cuts of meat, carved at your table.

Diners are welcomed with traditional Brazilian beef samosas before your Gaucho familiarizes you with the salad bar and the ordering process, or lack of.  It’s simple really, if you want more meat, make sure your place card is flipped to the green side, and red if you want to take a quick breather, which is inevitable.

Capital Lifestyle suggests pacing yourselves through the rump steak, beef with garlic, pork leg, top sirloin, crocodile meat, grilled prawns with garlic, beef ribs, fish filet, chicken legs, pork ribs, beef and pork sausages, and lamb shoulder.  Visiting the salad bar for some much needed vegetable and hot entrees would be a good idea.  Our absolute favourite were the sausages!  Oozing with flavour and juices, the sausages were seared perfectly on the outside.  Cutting through the casing made delicious crackling sounds, revealing molten cheese, and savoury goodness.  The sausages were so irresistibly good that Capital Lifestyle went back for thirds!

Service at Fogo Gaucho was great, but considering it was a buffet service, how can it be any less?

The Churrascaria’s décor was overwhelmingly “ranch” with dark stained wood everywhere, but I guess that’s what people are looking for when it comes to a dining experience fit for a cowboy.

Definitely “bang for your shilling”, according to Eat Out, an average meal at Fogo Gaucho will cost around Sh 1,800 per person for all you can eat.  If you’re feeling like a true carnivore, make sure you head out to this Brazilian steak house to find your inner Gaucho.


For location details, prices, and how you can book online – make sure you check out Eat Out Kenya! Check it out now!



Fogo Gaucho Brazilian steak house in Nairobi, Kenya photographed by Susan Wong 2012

20 different kind of cold cuts and salads…

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Susan Wong is the Editor of Capital Lifestyle, a resident photographer, an award-winning journalist, radio presenter, full-time adventurer, long-time admirer of anything edible, and a spicy food athlete at Capital FM.

  • Chichi

    I love Fogo Gaucho…its better than Pampa Grill… the service there sucks. You need to do a review so that they wake up.

    • well after this comment, I’m not sure if I’d be welcomed on their premises! lol

      • Chichi

        they would be cowards if they refused. And anyone who refuses to let Susan Wong sample, is not really worth visiting. Great pics!

  • Paulo

    Thanks for your interesting article. Being a “gaucho” is embracing a particular life style of the “pampas”, which are the vast and fertile areas of southern Brazil. The “churrasco” (barbecue) is their gastronomic reference, certainly due to the high quality of their soil. In the past, gauchos had no frontier, travelled freely between Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina pampas region. The churrasco is characterized by a service of a variety of meat cuts, mostly beef, but also chicken and lamb, served in skewers on a rotative basis up to the satisfaction of the client. I think a good translation for “Fogo Gaucho” would be “Cowboy Bonefine”, as when the gauchos were in the wild areas, herding their cattle, they would set up a bonfire and prepare their churrasco and drink “mate”.

  • Chic001

    Just wanted to what the ambiance is like.Would you recommend it for a birthday dinner involving dinner dresses,formal wear and all that? or Is it a more casual atmosphere?

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