There’s nothing quite like discovering a scruffy-looking local restaurant that ends up wowing you with good value, friendly atmosphere, and tasty, authentic food.
This is the case with Rodizio Britannia, a Brazilian barbecue steak-house on the Wandsworth Road in Vauxhall. When I moved into my flat and discovered a South American restaurant in my local neighbourhood, you are right to assume that I was anxious to try it out.
Rodizios are typically Brazilian in style, specialising in variety of barbecued meats. The word rodizio comes from the term ‘to rotate’ and is most commonly applied to Brazilian restaurants serving barbecued meats served on a skewer. Rodizios can also be known as churrascarias (Brazilian steakhouses) and have a unique set-up, where diners pay a set price to be offered endless and various barbecued meats on a skewer, fresh from the grill and carved straight onto the plate. It’s a dining experience designed for real meat-lovers, as the constant supply of juicy, succulent, barbecued meats is enough to make any red-blooded male, or female, salivate.
Despite the white table cloths, and traditionally set tables, Rodizio Britannia is not a formal affair. For a Friday night the restaurant was disappointingly quiet, but this is a shame rather than a disadvantage, so don’t be put off. The staff are more than happy to have you present and make you feel as welcome as possible.
Eating at a rodizio is an informal experience, so head straight up to the salad bar to start the experience. The salad bar was described by my housemate as “something out of Pheonix Nights”, which is fairly accurate in terms of the layout, but again, don’t let the appearances put you off. With an array of hot and cold salads, ranging from cold shredded crab, pasta salad and coleslaw, to fried banana, hot bread dumplings and a delicious bean and pancetta salad, there is something for everyone.
However, here is a little advice: as good as the salad is, do not overfill your plate with it, as the meat is the highlight yet to come.
All different cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken wrapped in bacon, chorizo sausages, ribs, and lastly, chicken hearts. If you like your meat pink, then you should feel right at home (some cuts could have been rarer in my opinion, but that’s just how I like it). Definitely ask to try the chicken hearts, which are a Brazilian speciality. They are odd and rubbery in texture but have a really strong meaty flavour.
The waiter will simply keep returning to your table with what seems like endless cuts of meat. It gets to the point that you forget what you have already had (especially when the the waiter’s English is questionable). Take your time, people who eat in rodizios are meant to take hours to eat, and eating too much, too soon, can end up with you missing out on great meats that are brought out at the end.
When the meat gets too much, finish off the meal with a few slices of deliciously sweet cinnamon pineapple to cleanse your palate.
We left the restaurant very satisfied, if not a little too much. The rodizio experience is definitely not for the smaller appetites, or vegetarian-friendly for that matter (despite having a vegetarian price option), but it sure is good value for money at Rodizio Britannia. All in all, with three bottles of wine between four, the cost came to about £27 including tip. For a cheap and good value all-you-can-eat, Rodizio Britannia is a little Brazilian gem.Rodizio Britannia, 353 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 2JH Tel: 020 7720 9573 www.rodiziobritannia.com Price: £20 per head (food only)