|Enter and be amazed! Picture courtesy of vivabrazilrestaurants.com|
A close work colleague had given this restaurant the big thumbs up, and suggested I visit to do a review - who am I to turn down the prospect of unlimited meat for an evening?
Entering Viva Brazil was magical - they had a live band playing which created a really happy and energised atmosphere. This is definitely somewhere you could go to have a good, fun dinner. It was lovely to watch the musicians really enjoy themselves too!
The staff were kind and courteous, and always smiling. The waiters had some stunning kilts on, which really was a refreshing uniform compared to the usual cat-burglar-all-in-black ensemble. We ordered some cocktails (mine was a Pornstar Martini - the name is cringe worthy, but it was absolutely amazing!) and my dining buddy Sam chose to get a strawberry daiquiri.
|My friend Sam with a strawberry daiquiri and plate #1!|
To explain it in the simplest of terms how the restaurant works: you collect a plate from the Salad Island, choose from hot sides and/or cold sides, sit back at your table, and wait. You have a small coaster like token - red for 'no meat', and green for 'get it piled on to my plate!'. The waiters will walk around with skewers of a huge variety of meats. If you have your green token showing, they will offer you a cut. Say yes, or say no (I would always advise you to say yes). You are also given a small set of tongs so that you can take the cut from the skewer and land it on your plate safely.
|One of the lovely waiters with glazed ham|
The Salad Bar is nothing like what you would expect. I'll be honest, and say I was expecting something along the lines of Pizza Hut - how wrong I was. On one side you have hot sides - rice, pasta, cabbage, deep fried aubergine, chicken wings and mussels to name a few! - and on the other side you have lettuce, cous cous, cold pastas, olives and other sundries. I would recommend the deep fried aubergine, and the mussels in a butternut squash sauce. The aubergine was crispy on the outside, but melt-in-the-mouth soft under that coating. The mussels in a butternut squash were phenomenal; the sauce was thick and creamy, yet surprisingly light, and the mussels were meaty and fresh. It was difficult to not keep just having the sides!
|The hot sides|
There is also a selection of cured Italian meats, such as chorizo and salami, that you are welcome to choose from. A very appreciated touch was hundreds of cubes of cheese to combine with the meats. They also had slices of bread and some traditional Brazilian treats, such as chilli flour. I didn't personally try it as it was very crumbly (plus I wasn't sure how to tackle it) however when I return I may attempt it!
|Italian cured meats, cheese cubes and the chilli flour!|
Once seated, the waiters are very attentive and your plate is never empty unless you have requested it to be with your handy red token. Each cut of meat was cooked well-done on the outside, leaving the meat closest to the skewer a deliciously ruby red for the rare meat lovers! I tried 6 different meats at my visit to Viva Brazil:
'Cordeiro' which is the leg of lamb. Succulent, tender and crispy on the outside. A real chargrilled taste if you take a carving from the well-done layer!
'Contra Filet' is sirloin steak. This was rare on the inside, and well done on the outside. This steak was thinly sliced and so tender you hardly needed a knife to cut it. It carried a very unique meaty taste, but it was definitely my favourite (as you can imagine if you have read my other reviews!)
'Costela De Boi' is Brazilian for the meat on the ribs. This was a bit too fatty for me, as I personally like lean meat. It still tasted delicious however!
'Linguica De Porco' is a Brazilian pork sausage. There seemed to be a blend of herbs into the sausage that makes me want to find their butcher so I can have a roll with these sausages every morning - fantastic!
'Frango Com Pimenta' is Brazilian for chicken with a spicy coating. The chicken meat fell off the bone and the after taste was hot, but not so much that you were grabbing your glass for a drink. The chicken was juicy and sweet, and combined really nicely with it's spicy grilled exterior!
'Presunto Defomado', Brazilian for a gammon joint. This ham was smoky, juicy and unbelievably tasty. I would definitely say this ranked 2nd in my favourites, especially when combined with a chunk of deep fried aubergine.
|Sirloin steak, pork sausage and spicy chicken|
I did attempt to take the above photo when all the food was in one piece, however the smell is intoxicating and I really had to eat it! As you can see, the steak is uniquely tri-coloured by the way they cook it, which is why it was my favourite cut of the night.
Sadly, our stomachs were achingly full and my counter had to be turned to red. Our lovely waitress fetched us the bill and was very attentive for drinks the whole evening.
For two cocktails, two large glasses of wine (one red, one rose) and two outstanding meals, the bill was just over £70. I would happily visit Viva Brazil and pay that again, considering I was informed that the menu is forever changing, and that the meat and Salad Island options can change daily.
Personally, I think you would be daft not to try this restaurant. It was a spectacular unique dining experience, as well as a fun and interesting night. I'm already planning my next trip...
87 - 91 Bothwell Street,
Tel: 0141 204 0240
Wheelchair access: Yes