Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rodizio Preto

I'm sure you've all heard of Groupon, LivingSocial, Wowcher and other similar group buying sites. When they first became popular, I signed up to several of them thinking that they'd introduce me to new restaurants and activities, whilst saving me some dosh at the same time. However, after trying out a few of the deals and being less than impressed with the quality of service at some of them, I'd decided that the group-buying fad wasn't for me.

I may have to change my opinion.

The other day a Groupon for over 50% off at Rodizio Preto appeared in my inbox. It's a Brazilian Churrascaria steakhouse; basically, it's half buffet and half table service. You choose all of your sides (salads, refried beans, pasta, pasta salads) at the buffet, and then waiters come to your table with a selection of barbecued meats (steak, lamb, chicken, ribs, name it). You're given these little cards that say 'Sim/Yes' and 'Não/No' on them; you simply turn the card to reflect whether you want to be served meat or if you've had enough and need a break, you show the 'No' card.
The concept was something I'd never tried before; my housemate Emily and I had been looking for a new place to eat out, so this seemed perfect. I think they created the Groupon offer because their Battersea location is quite new, and they obviously wanted to promote it and drive traffic there. Rodizio Preto also has restaurants in Victoria, Putney, the West End, and Brighton. So, after doing a quick search on Google and reading nothing but positive reviews, I crossed my fingers and decided to buy the Groupon.

I arrived at Rodizio Preto a little later than Emily and for our reservation, and when I walked in the most incredible smells wafted through my nostrils - sending my little brain neurons in a frenzy, my stomach letting it know that I was starving. After the housekeeping was out of the way (did we want wine? Emily yes, Temi no), Em and I sidled up to the buffet bar...and got stuck in.

All of the salads looked and tasted extremely fresh; the tomato and onion salad was a fave of mine. I don't know where they source their fruits and vegetables from, but both the strawberries and the tomatoes were some of the plumpest, juiciest and fresh I'd eaten in a while.

Even though I'm 100% a pescatarian, I did have a few cheeky bites of the meat. It smelled so good, and I was eating at a steakhouse. I would've felt silly if I didn't at least try! Sadly, I didn't manage to snap a picture of any of meat...but I did load my plate full of leaves!

I also have to commend Rodizio Preto on their impeccable service. We had one main waiter, who was endearing and obviously took customer service very seriously. Friendly and charming, he served our drinks with one hand behind his back, (ever-so formal); offered great advice relating to mixing two of their freshly squeezed fruit juices (guava and passionfruit, yum); and made sure we were happy throughout the evening. The other servers fed us meat when we (mainly Em) wanted it, and often asked if there was anything else we required. I seriously don't think I could find a fault with the restaurant if I tried.

The verdict? Go. I don't think the Groupon is stil available - we paid £10 something, but original value is close to £20 I think. You may think that's a bit dear for a buffet, but (and especially if you eat meat) the range of food on offer is incredible, delicious, and surprisingly quiet healthy. (That's if you bypass the deep-friend bananas. We didn't. Oops.) So it'd definitely worth it. Plus, on average, there's a selection of 15 different barbecued meats to sample. Rodizio Preto gives new meaning to the term 'meat sweats.' Meat coma, more like it!

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