WE ASK TOWNSVILLE RESTAURANTS TO TELL US ABOUT A STAR DISH
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.
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.