Thursday, December 03, 2009

Rodizio Rico

77-78 Upper Street
N1 0NU

*Guest post by Fred*

The all-you-can-eat buffet is, for the most part, a godless, shameful institution in which humanity is reduced to its most base, primitive state, all in the name of vast troughs of indiscriminate cuts of mechanically recovered meat, disease-ridden salads and vast swathes of unidentifiable nuggets of fried golden chaff.

Islington’s Brazilian churrascaria, Rodizio Rico, attempts to add a little more culinary integrity to proceedings with their PETA-baiting smorgasbord of roasted animals. Seriously, if you’re a vegetarian, there is nothing for you here. Masala Zone next door should do you a nice bowl of lentils though.

Here’s how it works: you’re sat down at your table and each given a laminated card. One side is green, meaning ‘bring it on’, the other is red, signifying that your oesophagus is so backed up with masticated cow that you can barely breathe. As long as you’re offering waiters the green light, there’ll proceed to present you with skewer after skewer of roasted meat, from which they carve off a chunk onto your plate. I didn’t check, but one can only imagine they’re housing Noah’s Ark out back, because they literally offer you every single beast known to man. There are about 17 different cuts of beef to choose from (our favourite: the fillet steak brazenly marbled with melted cheese), roast lamb, Brazilian sausage, pork ribs, ham, pork loin, chicken wrapped in bacon, chicken wings and chicken hearts (every bit as vile as you’d imagine), to name but a few.

For the most part, the meat was excellently cooked. The beef was nice and pink in the middle and there were pleasingly spicy crusts on most of the cuts. In fact, it was hard to fault the quantity and quality of meat on offer. Seeing as that’s the restaurant raison d’etre, that’s a pretty resounding endorsement. However, the same couldn’t be said for the salad bar, which reverted to depressing ‘feeding time at the swine farm’ type. Lettuce leaves were brown around the edges, chips were cold, coleslaws were overly mayonnaisey and there was a surplus of horrid breaded objects that defied digestion. There was plenty to choose from at least (including an incongruous, unwanted vat of lasagne) - management clearly wanted you to fill up on this bland fodder to keep your flesh eating to a minimum. Don’t rise to the bait. Eat the meat. That’s why you here, so don’t lie to yourself and fill your plate with saggy mounds of tasteless vegetables to disguise your revolting carnivorous excess.

This is a ‘once a year’ experience. You’ll do some awful things to your cholesterol levels and put your colon in serious peril, but there’s no denying that it does roasted meat very well indeed. At £22.50 a head, it’s not cheap either, especially when you throw in the slightly surly service, but if you’re in the market for cooked flesh, Rodizio Rico comes heartily recommended.

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