Do you like meat? If so proceed three places to Viva Brazil on Castle Street. If the thought of eating animals turns your stomach, um, collect 200 mung beans and proceed to the Egg Cafe, because Viva Brazil really isn’t going to be your thing.
That’s because Viva Brazil is a churrascaria and specialises in barbecued meats. Steak, pork, chicken, gammon, lamb, sausages, offal. You name it, it’s likely to be somewhere on the menu.
There is a good selection of vegetarian-friendly food too, so veggies may not feel left out if attending as part of a group, so there are vegetables, pasta, salad, rice, potatoes, seafood and fruit at a buffet bar too. However, if you’re not a red-blooded carnivore, Viva Brazil may not be the most obvious choice for a meal.
There are other caveats too; go hungry and don’t fill up on bread. But do try the seafood dishes and some of the more unusual salads and rice dishes too. Make sure too to go native with some Brazilian bottled beers and caipirinhas too (a strawberry version of the latter described approvingly by one of the SevenStreets crew as ‘like a strawberry and lime Opal Fruit at the same time).
But most of all, try the many and varied meats. We found steaks like the beef rib, rump and sirloin to be the most enjoyable – thick, juicy cuts of meat served at the table by the passadors who carve the meat at your command.
Also delicious were a fatty pork parmesan, smoked chicken in bacon, dense chorizo and intense, gamey chicken hearts marinaded in red wine and oregano. We managed to pace ourselves – indicating our desire for a rest by turning mats on our table to ‘red’ to indicate that a break was required, before turning back to green to indicate that the gluttony was to recommence – and learned to favour the meats we enjoyed the most over the course of the night.
Regular visits to the salad bar complement the procession of meats and serve to refresh the palate. Best of all is a barbecued pineapple, brought to the table occasionally in place of meat, and cooked in brown sugar and cinnamon. It’s a beautifully sweet accompaniment to the salty, fatty meats and a delight in its own right.
For us a hearty bottle of rioja seemed like a good match to the red meats hitting our plates, but the waiters will be pleased to recommend a bottle of wine – or a beer or a cocktail.
Dessert is included in the lunch and dinner set prices at £12.50 and £22.95 respectively, but we were so full we simply couldn’t manage it. The meat was so good we’d over-indulged. And yet we’d barely grazed the surface; the restaurant rotates the various meats and dishes every day, so there are literally dozens of salads, stews, stroganoffs and various other wonders we never got around to trying.
So, unlike most all-you-can-eats, Viva Brazil left us hankering after a return visit – rather than just hankering after an emetic. There’s nothing of the frenzy or faff of some all-you-can eat places, nor is the atmosphere or decor anything other than classy and subdued And the emphasis is on great food and excellent service, rather than cheap, plentiful stack-em-high portions of cheap food.
There’s another restaurant in Liverpool we’ll be returning to again and again, on this evidence. Where Viva Brazil is concerned we’re turning our cards over to green. Yes please, we want some more.