My good friend Chris Stanton, who came to Rio with me in April last year, invited me to try a new Churrascaria in Clapham North. It was a very fortuitous invitation as I had already decided I’d do a review of every Brazilian Restaurant in London this year. Maybe even the whole of the UK. So this would be a great start.
To be able to give a balanced view, we also invited a female friend, the blogger and photographer Elizabeth Furth. Elizabeth has also spent a short spell in Rio and was looking forward to revisiting Brazilian cuisine.
My initial impression was that the house was quite small, with a huge bar taking most of the central space. Despite having opened fairly recently, there were already signs of considerable wear and tear to the decor, which did not inspire great confidence.
Once everyone arrived, a nice waiter explained the rules of the all-you-can-eat Rodízio and buffet and we set about getting some saladas, black beans, Farofa, etc. Then back to our table to wait for the main part of the meal – the barbecue. In typical Rodízio fashion, the waiters will bring large skewers with the different cuts of beef to the table and cut slices directly onto your plate.
Unfortunately we were all very disappointed with the quality of the beef itself. Many pieces were very dry and overcooked and some were so tough we had no choice but to discard them after a first bite.
I did not want the waiters to do give me any special treatment, which they sometimes do when they spot a Brazilian, so I never spoke Portuguese or made any mention that I knew my way around a churrascaria, even when the side dish started filling up with discarded bits of inedible steak. Soon, the waiter was looking at us with an air of suspicion and I could tell he was about to question why we were being so fussy. But before he could approach me, the owner of the house walked in and recognised me. He’s a very nice Portuguese man who also used to own a Rodízio house in Putney and another one in Earlsfield. I had shot a video at his place, so he knew me. He asked me what I thought of the place and I thought I’d be doing him a disfavour if I did not list my objections.
The list compiled by both my friends and I goes a little like this:
- Friendly waiters
- Nice salads and hot side dishes
- Good caipirinhas
- Good location
- Nice background music
- Some cuts were nice, like the chicken legs and the lamb
- Quite small and cramped space
- Chewing gum under the seat and tabletops (when was they last time they cleaned these?)
- Slow rotation of the cuts. Picanha was almost never to be seen
- Poor state of the decor (not a single socket or light switch in the bathroom was fully fixed to the wall)
- stogy and poorly prepared desserts (there were only 2 choices, both clearly bought from a third party)
- BBQ servers were very inexperienced on slicing the cuts
- Music was too loud and there was almost no rest from it
- The Pão de Queijo could be used to stone infidels!
- BUT MOST DISAPPOINTING OF ALL: Majority of the cuts were very overcooked, dry and/or tough as old boots
Rodizio Brazil – Brazilian Steak House
Sun-Wed: 11am-2am | Thurs-Sat: 11am-3am
62 Clapham High Street, Clapham
London SW4 7UL
Tel. 020 7627 3747
Nearest station: Clapham North or Clapham Common (Northern Line)