There’s something about barbecue meat that I just love. Maybe it’s the carcinogens going to my head but meat generally tastes better on a skewer. But now the weather has gone back to British rain & wind there’s no chance of me getting my fix from my £10 old faithful BBQ that barely makes it through a big gust of wind on the balcony. So to get our meat fix, we decided on dinner with friends at Tropiero on Argyle Street. We had been meaning to try it for a while after being told by a few people that they like it better than the other Brazilian place up the road. It is a Brazilian buffet restaurant but, if you haven’t tried one of these before, Brazilian buffets are far superior to other buffets. There is the normal buffet cart area then there are gaucho chefs going around with massive skewers of meat. You have a small mat on your table which is green and you turn it round to red when you want them to no longer offer you meat. It is not Michelin star food, nor is it particularly pretty food but it is usually damn tasty and is a dining experience instead of just a meal.
When we arrived at 4.30pm on a Sunday night for our booking the restaurant was very quiet but most restaurants are at that in-betweeny time. There were seven of us and the quiet restaurant that just meant that there was more meat for us so we certainly weren’t complaining. We needed to be in and out by 7pm because we were going to The Stand comedy club afterwards to see a friend doing stand up and we left plenty of time reserved for meat eating beforehand. A gentleman (the manager I think) came over for our drink order and asked if we know how it all works. The drinks list centred around Caipirinhas in different flavours so Mr S had one of those, we had a bottle of red and some beers. The full meat buffet is £21.95 or £14.95 for vegetarians but, to be honest, if you are a vegetarian I wouldn’t bother – it is all about the meat here.
We went straight up to the hot buffet area, which mainly consists of traditional Brazilian stews. There was a black bean stew with pork in it that got the thumbs up and a couple of us tried the fish stew too. There was some spicy roast potatoes and cabbage with garlic to accompany all of the meat. My only criticism with the hot buffet is that the online menu tells you a selection of things that might be available and mashed potatoes was one of the offerings. It was not out during our visit and I really missed not having it with my dinner, having had it before at Brazilian buffets, so think that it should be made a staple that is always out.
The cold buffet had a variety of salad, vegetables & olives as well as pieces of baguette, breadsticks & sauces. Out of the choices, I preferred the couscous with cucumber through it, the roasted butternut squash, the coleslaw & the marinated mixed olives.
Now on to the important bit – the meats going around the tables on big skewers (tip-never load your plate with food from the buffet and then be too full to try them all). The menu shows fourteen meats and states that up to twelve will be available at any one time. I should have really written down the names every time they came over so that I’d know which ones we had but that’s the kind of behaviour that will ensure me no dining companions in the future so I refrained. I remember that the chicken offerings were chicken breast wrapped in bacon, chilli & garlic thighs and chicken hearts marinated in beer. I liked the chicken in bacon the most because it had lots of flavour and smokiness from the bacon. I passed on the (beef or pork?) ribs because I was too full at that point but the others seemed to enjoy them. The gammon joint and leg of lamb were also appetizing but my favourite non-beef meat had to be the pork sausages. They were garlicky, tasty and juicy-perfect for my barbecue experience.
From what I remember, I think there was only one cut of beef that wasn’t out because we tried a few different ones. First to reach our table was the diced beef marinated in garlic oil and I’m pretty sure that the top sirloin was next. We had the cap of rump, which is probably my favourite meat at a Brazilian buffet, and the only time I get to have this cut of beef. That is as far as my memory goes with the meat because after that they were also coming around with meats that we’d had before but I enjoyed all of it. I usually take my steak medium but will eat it from a mass of blood to well done so I don’t worry about how it is given to me. For those a bit more particular you can ask for a piece from the outside that is more cooked or wait for a bloody inside piece.
This place for us is a real treat of unapologetic gluttony, as you don’t tend to stop eating until you are full to bursting. If you are a small eater and don’t like the idea of doing this then I’d think that the experience won’t be as good for you. It’s a great place for groups with the dining experience being a good talking point but I wouldn’t plan a big night out afterwards – in fact, I’d wear the stretchiest clothes possible without looking like you’re wearing maternity pants.
Nobody considered dessert and we were out by 7pm to head over to The Stand as expected. The service had been attentive, which was nice because sometimes a quiet restaurant means poor service because staff are not necessarily on the ball as much. Tropeiro left me feeling satisfied and full…until next time I need my winter barbecue fix.