[Ad – I was invited to the launch of Rodizio Rico in Coventry as part of my work with Coventry BID but I wasn’t asked to write this blog. These are just my thoughts because I guessed you would want to hear about it]
I have heard tell of the likes of Rodizio Rico and always thought it sounds like my perfect place. Unlimited meat, carved from skewers at your table, a big old salad bar, Brazilian cocktails. What’s not to love? The only issue was that while there were venues in London and Birmingham, neither were that close to me.
Hello Rodizio Rico Coventry. I think we’re going to be close friends.
As part of the wonderfully welcome growth that Coventry’s experiencing, including to its food and drink scene, Rodizio Rico has just opened in the Co-op building on Corporation Street.
What is Rodizio Rico?
It describes its cuisine as traditional Brazilian calls itself the UK’s first ‘Churrascaria’. For those not in the know, churrasco translates roughly as barbecue.
The concept is simple. A whole load of cuts of meat are cooked over fire at the back of the restaurant then brought round by ‘passadores’ on long skewers and carved at your table.
Each diner gets a card with a green side or a red side – green means give me more meat, red means stop. Obviously if you’re like me you don’t bother turning it over. Green all the way people!
I attended on the launch night which meant a few extra complimentary cocktails and nibbles, but for the most part it was pretty much as you’d find it on an average night.
The restaurant is open plan, apparently inspired by Brazilian greenery, but before you spot the hanging foliage you might get distracted by the rather large boat groaning under a billion salads and sides just waiting to be snapped up.
If you’re thinking I’m talking about the salad buffet at Pizza Hut, I want you to think a bit more upscale. Salads, cheeses, breads but also Brazilian street foods, cassava, fried fish, scallops and a platter of slow-cooked pork pulled right there at the boat and piled into bread rolls.
The meat at Rodizio Rico
Okay okay, I know you’re waiting for the meat. I’ll confess to being slightly apprehensive. If you read this blog regularly you’ll know Jamie and I are partial to good quality meat, cooked well. But could a place that churns out meat in fairly high volume manage to make the grade?
The answer, in my humble opinion, is yes. They serve a range of meat – 14 cuts I’m told – from leg of lamb to beef including Picanha, ribs, pork, chicken, sausage and more. I reckon I tried quite a lot of it on the launch night and it was all good.
Beef was tender, cooked right, and full of flavour. Sausage was tasty and well-seasoned with a slight warmth, ribs were tender and not too fatty and the chicken selection even includes chicken hearts which I haven’t had since I visited Tokyo.
But the winner was the lamb. A pan of lamb chops were the stuff of dreams for me. Crispy fat that melted away when you chewed it (yeah, I like the fat on lamb chops, don’t get grossed out), tasty meat with a slight char. My perfect meal. Perfect, that is, until the leg of lamb arrived and I sank my teeth into a few slices of that bad boy.
If it hadn’t been a Wednesday and I hadn’t already done two circuits of the boat before the meat arrived, I’ve have kept that card on green the whole night, but decided that I’d have to curtail my carnivorous carnal pleasures and save them for another night.
Desserts at Rodizio Rico
That, however, didn’t stop me and my pals trying dessert and I’m bloody glad we did. Apparently they’re all homemade, and they certainly tasted better than your average straight-out-of-the-freezer offerings you get in some places.
The raspberry cheesecake was good. The Dulce de Leche dessert was apparently fab. But I reckon my homemade coconut ice cream served with mango sauce was the best.
Such a simple idea, but executed brilliantly, just like all the best dishes. Creamy ice-cream, not too sweet, with a little bit of a bite from some coconut. Refreshing, slightly tart and sweet mango sauce. Definitely one to try if you go there.
So yes, Rodizio Rico is everything I hoped it would be. Yes, on the night I went we had the added joy of Brazilian dancers which I’m afraid you won’t necessarily get if you visit on a normal night, but everything else is what you can expect if you book in.
An endless meat feast, fresh salads to accompany it, great desserts, wine and cocktails, music, good service, a pretty interior. What more can you ask for? Yes, I know I went on a launch night, so it’s possible it’s not necessarily representative of the normal experience. But I promise you faithfully that I’ll head back very soon to check it out again. It’s only fair, right?
As stated above, I attended the launch of Rodizio Rico in Coventry so my meal was complimentary. The price is usually £28.20 per person for the full range of meat and all the accompanying salads, or £21.20 if you want the vegetarian option. Children between five and 10 eat for £15.50 and those under five go for free.