It's not fancy, it's not big and it's not clever, but the scrag end is delicious. For simple, honest opinions on restaurants, recipes, supper clubs and what not, you've come to the right place.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Rodizio Preto, 72 Wilton Road, Victoria

It’s the cry of the frustrated chaetophobe: you can’t get a good Brazilian in London. More justifiably (and truthfully), it's also a lament of food writers.

Where I live in North West London, that’s not quite fair. There are plenty of decent Brazilian butchers in Kensal Rise, Harlesden and Willesden, and even the odd nice cafe.

That said, there’s certainly a gap in the market. And it’s meat-shaped. So it was with some interest that I went to Rodizio Preto in Pimlico. Ten hungry men is likely to be a challenge for any restaurant, but especially one that bills itself as an ‘all-you-can-eat’ churrascaria.

Things began ominously. There’s a knack to all-you-can-eat: don’t waste your time on too much of the peripheral stuff. Avoiding carbohydrates early on is a must, and here, was something of a challenge. The salad bar was laden with tasty potato salads and rice dishes, on top of indulgent deep fried plantain and cheesy, melty, breadcrumbed samosas. Hot Feijoada-type stew meant that many of us had eaten a fairly substantial meal before the meat proper even started, though, it must be said, with mixed reports from the table on quality. Nevermind – the house red was cheap and very cheerful, and there was a humdinger of a chilli sauce.

So, to the meat. For those who like pointless games with their food or enjoy macho tests of eating stamina, the little green and red disk is a godsend. If the green side faces up, it means you’d like more meat. If though, you turn it over to the red side, that means you’re taking a break. Or you’ve quit. Loser.

First up was rump steak, nicely rare, very well-seasoned and really pretty good. This is the restaurant’s go-to dish. It reappeared three or four times during the meal, and was always welcome, sliced from its lovely skewer, kebab-stylee.

Chicken wrapped in bacon came next. It was ok, but a little dry and very salty. Salty sausages and salty ham followed, then brisket (I think) and chicken thighs. The brisket was good and fat flavoured. The thighs had a great barbecue tang. The ham was, you know, ham. At this point, I was filling up nicely, but it would be a stretch to say I’d eaten all I could.

While everything was decent enough, little stood out. But then the chicken hearts, and then the sirloin. These were the best dishes of the day. The hearts had a wonderful, popping texture and a sharp marinade that nicely offset the richness of the meat. The sirloin was very rare indeed, with a fatty rim that was slightly crunchy on the outside and very beefy in the middle - super. Again, we were treated to several repeat performances.

By this stage, the wine had been flowing like water for a couple of hours, slightly impairing the judgment of all concerned. So when I say it felt like the meat slowed down, that all-you-can-eat didn’t really mean all-you-can-eat, I may very well be wrong. Even if there was an attempt to rein in our consumption, it’s fair to say that the restaurant gave us excellent value for money.

The meat and salad came to £20.95 per head, and even with an all-you-can-drink approach to the wine, the total bill was £35 each including service. Rodizio Preto is not subtle or sophisticated, but it is fun. You can certainly get better meat in London, but you’d be pushed to find it in these quantities for an equivalent price.

Phil Letts’ take: 6/10

Preto on Urbanspoon


  1. The lamb is also very good there - tender, salty, herby.
    Ann Yo

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  3. I don't get it.

    Thanks for your comment, Ann Yo

  4. went there as well meet was too salty