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Rodizio Rico, Carnivore’s Delight [Restaurant Review]

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Reviewed by The Wild Boar

Brazil, most commonly associated with football, a certain style of waxing and cars that run on sugar cane juice (it’s true!). On the global radar, Brazilian food is skulking underneath as other world cuisines like Chinese and Japanese had their turns being “fashionable” and in the spotlight. Indeed, the only Brazilian restaurant I’m aware of in London is Rodizio Rico.

Thus far, I have been to Rodizio Rico three times; the first two times at their branch in Westbourne Grove, this third time was my first visit to the O2 Arena. For the non-UK people, the O2 Arena used to be the Millenium Dome, a badly planned Labour government construction to celebrate the coming of the new millennium but ended up repeatedly requiring more and more funding as less and less visitors were attending until O2 (a telecommunications company) bought it out and transformed it into a hugely successful indoor venue. In terms of ticket sales, the O2 is currently third most popular venue for concerts and family shows (Madison Square Avenue is second on this list).


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Getting to the O2 is easy enough but finding a parking spot is a bit of a challenge. Despite having four separate outdoor parking bays, I spent 10 minutes circling around until I found somebody leaving and quickly nipped his spot. It could be extra busy as the Pet Shop Boys (you know you’re old if you recognise the name) were performing that night, but I think almost every night is a performance night. The ticket cost me £6 for the three hours or so we stayed there.

Inside the building were hordes of people and about 20 restaurants to cater to the hungry concert goers. We quickly found Rodizio Rico and upon confirming our reservation, were quickly shown to our table. Built upon two floors, we were placed upstairs. Both floors seemed identical as far as I could see, with each floor having its own bar, grill, self-service food counter, the only exception being that upstairs had bigger tables to cater for bigger parties and I don’t recall seeing a live band downstairs.


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There is quite a reasonably sized list of the standard cocktails and the winelist has a significantly sized representation from South America. We chose the first malbec red we saw, which was quite good for about £22. They had four beers on tap, mostly European (I recommend Hoegaarden, a great fruity little Belgian white beer).

Now, to explain more about the food concept here: essentially, it is a
churrascaria, which originated from the gauchos in Southern America who were horsemen tending their cattle on the plains. Being real men of the plains, their main mode of cooking involved a fire and some meat from the animals they were herding (the explanation above may not be 100% factually accurate as I’m not a nomadic horseman and Wikipedia isn’t helping much here). Anyway, Rodizio Rico offers all you can eat grilled meat and a variety of side dishes both hot and cold. The interesting bit about this is how you get served your meat: waiters will come to your table bearing skewers of meat and slice some for you if you so desire.


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The side dishes are a mix of carbohydrates and salads to go with the meat, none particularly healthy looking. There are too many to go through here, but my favourites include the potato salad, the lasagne (surprisingly tasty although a bit random, maybe to satisfy the kiddies?) and the deep fried battered banana (so reminiscent of the
goreng pisang from home). Along with the side dishes are a variety of sauces to go with the meat but beware, the chilli oil is particularly hot. The mint sauce takes some finding as it was next to the salads for some weird reason. Sadly, no mustard was to be found anywhere.


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Finally, we can talk about the meat. In essence, they serve chicken, beef, pork, lamb and fish, all grilled. The chicken wings were good, well marinated, but would lose in a showdown with a KFC Hot Wing. There is also a chicken wrapped in bacon but I was too full by the time it made its appearance. Not for the weak of heart are the chicken hearts (hehe, get it?). The little morsels were strongly marinated to help counter its innate strong offal taste, but the overall result was extremely satisfying.


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The beef came in a variety of cuts, none of which I fully understood the ramifications of nor did I remember their names. The first cut to arrive was a topside, which was reasonable, but a bit too salty and dry. I would have preferred the rarer slices in the middle but the waiter said it was too rare and needed more cooking and ran off before I could protest. They also served rump, which I didn’t try, and silverside, which I had before and found it had a significant fibrous sheath to it which I didn’t like. The beef ribs came without the bone (I’m actually not too sure if they’re ribs) and was quite chewy.


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The pork ribs on the other hand, were very tender and had just enough salt to heighten the taste of the meat. My only regret of the night was not eating more of them. I would advise not wasting your precious stomach space on the pork ham (unless you really like salted meats). The sausages were supposed to be particularly good here, but they weren’t anything special to me. They had quite a lot of chunks of fat inside and why eat processed meat when there is proper meat floating around?


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I’m not too sure what cut the lamb was from (leg or shoulder if I had to guess) but it was reasonable, not too tough.

The only seafood served was fish, and just one type at that. It was tilapia, and the little slivers of white meat were marinated (I’m guessing with lemon, chilli and peppers) before being grilled. Quite nice actually, the meat was succulent and still juicy.


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Although not a meat, the waiters also serve garlic bread on the skewers. Freshly baked with a generous amount of garlic butter, the bread was delicious and our table of nine would always finish off a skewer when the waiter passes by our table.


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Overall, the service was reasonably quick and attentive. The live band played some decent music throughout the night and was only too happy to sing a birthday tune for our table (and another two groups later that night). Unfortunately, we were too full to sample the desserts this time, although from my past experience it was nothing special. Overall, the bill for a round of cocktails each, a bottle of red wine and unlimited food came to just over £30 a head.


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Food - 4.0
Service - 4.0
Atmosphere - 5.0
Value - 7.0


In general, the food is pretty good and with such a wide variety of side dishes, most of which are actually quite tasty on its own, there is a little bit of something for even the pickiest of eaters. The meat was well cooked, of quite reasonable quality overall, there is sufficient variety to keep things interesting and to appease those who don’t eat a particular type of meat. A nice possibility after dinner would be to start on some drinks, a prospect not lost upon other diners I’m sure.

Yet somehow, if I was truly craving for meat, despite the boundless array of protein available, this wouldn’t actually be my destination of choice; I would be more interested in looking for a slab of steak, preferably rib-eye, cooked rare to medium rare, served with English mustard, fat chips and a glass or three of red, and I suspect its because I now place
quality over quantity.

Would I eat here again? Only if invited by friends.


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Rodizio Rico
O2 Arena
Greenwich Peninsula,
London SE10 0DX
Official website
Tel: +44(0)20 8858 6333





Rodizio Rico on Urbanspoon

23 oink oinks...:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great place! Now, I'm hungry ;-P...

Cheers,

Rosa

Jenn said...

Looks awesome!! I love Brazillian food. Especially the beef. Nice

KennyT said...

Oh, Brazilian food is not doing good enough in HK, many Brazilian all-u-can-eat restaurants closed down. Perhaps the way they grill the meat is not welcoming by the Chinese stomachs, haha.

Gera @ SweetsFoods said...

You were visiting my neighborhood in food! Love the churrascaria with espeto corrido: that is to say eat delights, till you explode :)

Cheers,

Gera

♥peachkins♥ said...

I haven't had breakfast. This made me hungry. I would love to try that restaurant

Sophie said...

You took a lot of nice pictures & I loved your review! Thanks!

The Curious Cat said...

I used to live in Brazil and if you are looking for an authentic experience - this is the place to go - it is a bit expensive in my opinion and they don't have catipury (no one does in this country!)but I love the fact they serve guarana, the beans and rice and that the meat tastes like it is from Brazil too (they marinate/flavour it in the best possible way). I adore chicken hearts - they are so flavoursome so this also ticks the boxes! Don't be put off people - you'll miss out on this delicious treat otherwise! xxx

Grace said...

that's way too much colorful and tasty food in one place--they need to share the wealth. and when i say they should share the wealth, i mean they should share it solely with me. :)

Marta said...

What a lively place! Looks like a very inviting and fun atmosphere!
This does indeed look like a carnivore's mecca!

noble pig said...

What a lovely place...bright and nice. But all those sauces...wow.

Kavey said...

This place has been on my list for AGES and I really MUST get around to going soon!

katie said...

haha... a hotwing KFC throwdown. I just did a popeyes v KFC biscuit throwdown. Popeyes wins!!!!

ps beautiful pics!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe I remember (and loved) the Pet Sho Boys. I guess I'm old!? lol I'm amazed there's only one Brazilian restaurant. I always thought that London had so much of everything!

Steven Goh said...

Brazilian food, nice woo... I wish I can have it in Penang now. Hungry now... wanna eat.

Elra said...

Sounds like a wonderful place, I never been to Brazilian restaurant. Not even sure whether we have any here in Palo Alto, maybe San Francisco. Food sounds pretty good. Maybe I'll keep this in mind, since we go to London quite often.

Pam said...

What a fun dining experience. We have a Brazilian restaurant here in Portland that I want to try.

Chef E said...

These restaurants do well in my home state of Texas, and I wanted to visit one while there, but friends went with another choice...love these pics, and now I want to grill some meat!

syrie said...

What a feast. best Brazilian food I had was in Rio -- it was a crab moquecca -- kind of like a type of coconut curry. Delicious.

Wild Boar said...

KennyT:
Maybe, there weren't a lot of other Chinese diners around haha.

Gera @ SweetsFoods:
I nearly did explode x_x

Sophie:
Thanks.

The Curious Cat:
I'm glad to know that Rodizio Rico is serving authentic food since my chances of visiting Brazil is probably quite remote :-( Thanks for popping in to say that.

Grace:
I'm sure NY has loads of other goodies to savour!

Kavey:
I would recommend the O2's branch simply because the venue is nicer if you're interested in trying the place.

katie:
Is a "popeye" an American thing? If only there was a branch here in London for me to eat...

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella:
Haha well, I may have used some dramatism; there MAY be other Brazilian restaurants, but I'm certainly not aware of them (although I haven't been looking for them either anyway).

Steven Goh:
I just saw your posts on asam laksa and durian *sigh* I'll gladly trade Brazilian BBQ for some durian now.

Elra:
It would be a nice change to try something different, and the food is actually quite good although you need a big appetite to make full use of the value on offer.

syrie:
Sounds good, I love creamy curries too.

Chow and Chatter said...

beautiful have fun love your blog

Lizzie said...

I dined at the Islington branch and wasn't impressed. They'd run out of a lot of meats which was very annoying. I would also prefer to have a higher quality meat and less of it, if need be.

Janet @Gourmettraveller88 said...

Sounds like a great place, my uni friend lives nearby there, gotta ask his family to dine there when I visit UK again.

Wild Boar said...

Chow and Chatter:
Thanks!

Lizzie:
That does sound very annoying, especially since people will tend to prefer certain cuts of meat anyway.

Janet @Gourmettraveller88:
Its worth a visit if you're keen on getting your protein fix for the month in one meal.

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