EYE TASTE

WE ASK TOWNSVILLE RESTAU­RANTS TO TELL US ABOUT A STAR DISH

Townsville Bulletin - Townsville Eye - - Food - WORDS: C H R I S L E E S / / PHO­TOS: ZAK SIM­MONDS

THE RESTAU­RANT

CHICO RIO

Chico Rio is a Brazil­ian chur­ras­caria restau­rant. Ev­er­p­re­sent in the South Amer­i­can coun­try, the way you eat at th­ese types of restau­rants is quite dif­fer­ent to most. You pay a set price, $49 in this case and it’s all you can eat, meats, seafood and sides. Mon­days and Tues­days it is $39. Meat is cer­tainly the fo­cus for this type of cui­sine. Wait­ers come around with dif­fer­ent cuts of meat, the high­light is the beef, and cut it di­rectly on to your plate. When you’ve had enough all you have to do is say no more. The food is pre­pared sim­ply with of­ten not much more than salt and pep­per and maybe gar­lic added be­fore it is cooked over skew­ers and of­ten over char­coal or more tra­di­tion­ally an open flame. The restau­rant has been open for about five years and the style of din­ing has be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar through­out Aus­tralia dur­ing this time.

THE CHEF

RAY­MUND SAN­TOS

Al­though Ray­mund San­tos is from the Philip­pines, he says there are a few sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween his home cui­sine and Brazil­ian. “Some of the things are sim­i­lar, I en­joy cook­ing on the grill,” he said. “We use char­coal so it gives it a lot more flavour.” The head chef has been at the restau­rant since it opened. He came to Townsville to study as a chef at Townsville’s TAFE and then got spon­sor­ship at the restau­rant. Ray­mund said there were 15 dif­fer­ent types of meat plus other dishes cooked at the restau­rant which al­ways kept him busy. Beef pi­canha, plum pork, chicken wrapped in ba­con, pork belly and cala­mari are some of the most pop­u­lar dishes.

STAR DISH BEEF PI­CANHA

Beef pi­canha – also known as the rump cap – is the most pop­u­lar dish on the menu and the most tra­di­tional Brazil­ian dish. “I love cook­ing the beef, the pi­canha is the best one,” Ray­mund said. “It is cooked over char­coal and done with salt and pep­per and we add gar­lic to give it a bit more flavour.” In South Amer­ica pi­canha is con­sid­ered one of, if not, the prime cut of beef. Pi­canha, which comes from the sir­loin, is not a tra­di­tional cut peo­ple will find at the butcher so it’s worth try­ing it if you find your­self at Townsville’s only chur­ras­caria.

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