Rodizio Rico (churrascaria) – London, England (8/10)

[UPDATE: July 2009 there is a third branch of Rodizio Rico at the o2 arena in Greenwich]

Having dutifully stayed away from Brazilian churrascaria Rodizio Rico for the best part of the year, for fear of over-indulging on the delectable meat cuts, I thought it was time we returned, seeing as Christmas, the season for eating, had arrived. My younger brother, who loves food, any type of food, came along too. I also wanted to take some photos for World Foodie Guide, as there are none in my earlier review.

We went to the Islington branch again, as it’s more spacious than the original one on Westbourne Grove. During December, when the restaurant is extra busy, there are two sittings, so we opted for the earlier one, as time for digestion is required before bedtime!

What we ordered:

We carnivores went for the Prime Cuts BBQ Meats option (£20.50), while my husband had the Vegetarian option (£14.50). Both options are ‘eat as much as you can’. Apart from the many cuts of various meats that waiters will serve you from huge skewers, there is a generous buffet selection – with plenty of salads and hot dishes, including feijao (beans), fried bananas, rice, potatoes and chips. This is so popular that there are crowds of people around the counter at any one time, so you have to wait for a gap in order to slip in. Apart from a bit of salad and some potatoes though, I saved myself for the meat, hardly leaving my seat.

I think we ate non-stop for just under 2 hours. The meat waiters just kept doing their rounds, so there would be a different type of meat arriving approximately every 7 minutes, even though the restaurant was absolutely packed. It was hard to refuse anything, but when I ended up with three to four different cuts on my plate, I realised I had to pace myself and only say yes when I was ready for more. More importantly, I only said yes to the cuts I really wanted to eat, so it was a polite no (many times) to the pork sausage, gammon, garlic bread and chicken hearts!

Rump steak was a bit tough, but tasty nevertheless. I think it had gone around the restaurant a few times already. Pork loin was both dry and very salty. Chicken wing was deliciously succulent and very meaty. Pork spare rib was a little salty but nevertheless lovely. Shish beef was both tender and full of flavour, although there was one tough piece that I had to discreetly spit out. Chicken breast was succulent but again slightly too salty. The lamb was heavenly and tender. Avoid the beef rib at all costs, as it was tasteless and dry. Sirloin steak was bloody and perfect, as was the fillet steak. The fillet steak with garlic was another lovely cut.

The verdict?

To be frank, I knew I was over-eating about half-way through the meal, but it was hard to stop. By the time I felt truly sick from the amount of meat I had consumed, it was too late. But as I don’t eat meat at home, I felt I had stocked up on red meat to last me well into 2008.

For three people, including water and three beers (Portuguese Sagres), the bill came to £78.00. Not bad, considering how much one can eat. This is particularly fun for large groups. No churrascaria can compare to Porcao, but Rodizio Rico is the best that London can offer.

If you like meat, try –10 – Perfection, 9.5 – Sensational, 9 – Outstanding, 8.5 – Superb, 8 – Excellent, 7.5 – Very Good, 7 – Good, 6.5 – Above Average, 6 – Average

All the London restaurant reviews on World Foodie Guide

Contact Details: Rodizio Rico 77-78 Upper Street Islington London N1 0NU Tel: 020 7354 1076

Rodizio Rico 111 Westbourne Grove London W2 4UW Tel: 020 7792 4035 www.rodiziorico.com

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