While Brazil’s wasn’t a difficult cuisine to track down in the capital, the dominance of the small chains of rodizios meant we had to dig a little deeper to find a standout, independent venue.
March’s FIFA rankings saw Brazil sit in fifth place and, despite Portugal edging above them in April, we had already booked ourselves into one of London’s most authentic Brazilian restaurants. After convening in a somewhat edgy east London boozer, we strolled round the corner to Raizes.
We were welcomed very warmly by Tulio and co, and (after a short wait) we enjoyed a round of caipirinhas, and set about choosing our appetisers. The pães de queijo (bite-sized cheesebreads) – were excellent, along with the shredded pork belly (torresmo) and the minced beef croquettes (kibe, a middle East-inspired Brazilian dish). Only the mini coxinhas, pasties stuffed with chicken, failed to hit the same heights but we were enjoying an excellent start to the latest EatFIFA instalment.
Switching to bottles of Brahma to accompany the main course, we took a while to make our choices from their impressive menu. The picanha steaks proved to be disappointing, but the espeto misto (mixed skewers of chicken, sausage and rump steak) were succulent and perfectly seasoned. A rather more adventurous choice of the bobó de camarão, an Afro-Brazilian dish, resembled a prawn curry but without the vitally important spicy kick.
The hit-and-miss main dishes were supplemented dutifully by piles of rice, salad and a particularly good creamed corn.
Well-stuffed by this point, and criminally passing on desserts, we passed round our charmingly-made scorecards:
Value For Money: 55.3
A varied set of scores made for an interesting totting-up process, but Raizes did not let its country down. Comfortably outscoring the fading memory of the bland Dutch excursion, EatBrazil found itself level pegging with EatGermany in a marked contrast of styles.
It’s going to take something special to dislodge Spain from the top of the EatFIFA rankings, it seems.
Next stop – Portugal.