Rodizio Rico, Fulham

Rodizio Rico

Near Fulham Broadway station, Rodizio Rico, a Brazilian grill restaurant, opened its doors a few months ago. After the O2, Islington, and Westbourne Grove, this is the fourth location, but perhaps not the last, of a (at least for now) small-ish chain.

Rodizio Rico is a Churrascaria (which, the manager assured us, is pronounced as shoe-hoss-korea), which basically means that it’s a barbeque. How apt in a part of London where a large chunk of the world’s BBQing nations (Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa) seem to have settled.

Having dragged a friend along to go there the other day, the first thing we noticed were the tables surrounding us that were set up for rather large parties, which included a fiftieth birthday and a table with quite a number of kids. Our first thought was to ask for a table outside, where it would be quieter, but the English summer being what it is, decided not to risk it. Our concern that it might be too loud to hear yourself think was, however, unfounded.

First things first, we ordered a bottle of wine. The wine list is not particularly extensive, but very well balanced between higher and lower end of the price range, with a wide range of types from different locations. We opted for a Brazilian Merlot. Personally, I’m never too keen on the Merlot, but this was something completely different. Smooth, full of flavour, and a good companion for the meal.

The salad bar was well stocked and continuously topped up with freshly-made salads and other hot dishes. A slight hitch was that there were no labels, which was fine for the bits we easily recognised such as the tomatoes, but a bit more of a challenge for some of the other dishes. It might also be helpful for diners with allergies. It didn’t stop us from trying a little bit of everything, though.

Each of us was then given a round “token” with a red (no thanks) and a green (yes please) side. Green side up indicates you’d like to try some more meat, red side up signals you’d like to take a little break. Brilliant, since it means that you decide when you want the meat carvers who continuously come around to come to your table to show what’s on offer. Chicken hearts, sausages, ribs, and leg of lamb are just a few of the meats available. Not being a particularly big eater, I liked the fact that I could just try a little bit of everything, and then perhaps have some more (or something different) later. Like the wine and the salads, there was a nice variety of meat, and it was all well cooked and freshly prepared.

To be honest, I wouldn’t pick it for a romantic dinner, but it’s a superb place for a party or a small gathering. Service was friendly without being pushy, and there was a nice, buzzy atmosphere about the place. As we said goodbye, my friend commented that it would be the perfect place to feed her hollow-legged teenager.

One thing is certain: if you want to make the most of it, have only a light lunch and settle in for the evening. Or, even better, start at lunch time and lazily pick at the salads and the meat every now and then until you finally had enough.