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Bem Brasil, Deansgate, review

Gordo writes the funniest food review of the month on God's green meaty planet

Written by . Published on January 6th 2011.


Bem Brasil, Deansgate, review

Ok, let’s cut to the churrascaria. Bem Brasil is, yes, a Brazilian restaurant and it’s two doors up from San Carlo, opposite Kendals. The ground floor houses a bar, which dispenses rocket fuel disguised as pretty good cocktails and that appalling Brazilian fizzy beer brewed just downstream from the iron ore plant in Sao Paulo.

Skirt was described correctly and was a belting cut. The lamb? Gordo would have found it difficult to source legs as big and old as these. These lads have spent more than one winter running up and down rubbish tips in Manaus eating cardboard.

Bem Brasil restaurant has an older sibling in the Northern Quarter where Gordo fell in love with the best Brazilian bottom in the World. But that’s another tale in a long list of unrequited love.

This one is the larger, smarter of the two with its restaurant on the first floor, a large, welcoming space with staff who smile. The Maitre d’ mind you is in training for the 100 metres sprint, he takes some keeping up with on your way to the table, one hewn out of a rain forest. When Gordo is the last person alive after you lot die of some weird virus, he will be coming here for his firewood.

Now, the type of restaurant here is a Churrascaria, which is Brazilian for ‘fill yer boots’, generally with meat. Meat and more meat. This was Gordo’s second visit in ten days, the first of which was accompanying Mancon’s new sales manager who, it turns out, is a glutton.

That first visit surprised Gordo a bit. These Churry-wotsits always have a salad bar with hot and cold bits and pieces, which Gordo normally gives a wide berth. This is because they are, by and large, the remnants of last night’s efforts. A Churra-wotsit in the gay village was a particularly bad example of this problem. However this salad bar was good. They all seem to have a big pot of black beans on the go; Gordo’s advice is to give them miss unless you can time your toilet trip to arrive just in front of your worst enemy.

There is always an interesting main course stew on the go, on the first trip oxtail (I would have been very happy eating this on its own), and on the second visit strips of chicken in a mushroom type sauce; not good at all. On that first visit Gordo got a big dollop of cauliflower cheese which was unctuously gooey, a perfect specimen. The salads were crisp and fresh. On the second visit, early evening, the standards were kept up, except the cauliflower was clearly from a different chef, watery.

What you do at these Churry Houses, which you will find all the way across Brazil, is get a fist full of salad, go back to your table and await the main event. Which are bloody great big chunks of meat on skewers, brought to your table straight from a grill. It’s a great big barbie you see.

First up chicken thighs which were crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. But, flavourless; Gordo would guess they weren’t organic, Schofield's favourite word of the week (click here). This was on the second of his visits; the first time they were quite good, boned; the second lot weren’t which suggests a different supplier. A sausage was great on both occasions.

Then, “Rump Steak sir?” enquired another waiter with a whole cow on a stick. Well yes please. Crispy on the outside, chewy but full of flavour on the inside. Two seconds later, “Fillet steak sir?” err, yes please. Big slice. Four minutes later, “Sirloin steak sir?”….

The beef is good. But, you fellers are a bit naughty, ‘cos you and Gordo know that none of that beef has seen the hindquarter of a beast; it ain’t Rump, Fillet nor Sirloin. You don’t need your waiters telling those porkies. Because you are using the cheaper, more difficult cuts of beef; but no matter. It’s expertly cooked, always sexy and crispy and then pink on the other side. Gordo enjoyed it immensely. Skirt was described correctly and was a belting cut.

The lamb? Gordo would have found it difficult to source legs as big and old as these. These lads have spent more than one winter running up and down rubbish tips in Manaus eating cardboard.

Gordo didn’t eat a pudding on either occasion, but they look pretty good although not done in-house.

The damage? £12.50 at lunchtime and £22.50 in the evening. You can get a monster meat sandwich at the bar downstairs for a fiver by all accounts. Gordo would like feedback on these, they sound like fun and value at the same time.

Red wines range from an Argentinean cabernet sauvignon at £26 quid and down; the Portuguese Entre II Santos red is, at £18.45, Gordo’s choice. The list overall is sensible on the price and well chosen.

This is a place to go in a group, or with your missus if you are off to the cinema. Not the place for a first date - if she turns out to be vegetarian you won’t be getting a shag on the first night, that’s for sure.


Rating: 13.5/20
Breakdown: 6/10 food (would have got 6.5 with no porkies…)
4/5 service
3.5/5 ambience
Address: Bem Brasil
118 Deansgate
Manchester M1 1FJ
0161 839 2525

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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23 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Leigh ScottMarch 25th 2010.

Ha- love it... Gordo’s advice is to give them a miss unless you can time your toilet trip to arrive just in front of your worst enemy.

Been to the Bem brazil in NQ - meat was far too salty for me on both occasions,salad bar seemed more like an afternoon at the pizza hut lunch buffet with less choice. @ £22.50 it's a bit steep for limitless old chewy meat and an all you can eat salad.Not sure it's the best place to pay the best part of £50-60 for two( after the odd drink)
I can get that sort of plate at the mother in-law's)

CASMarch 25th 2010.

I agree it can be expensive if you go in the evening. Lunch is best option, I always find the meat to be really tasty. Salad bars are never great, but it's always good when you've got a little un in tow. I remember when the first one first opened in the NQ. I was pregnant and unlimited food sounded good so we went on the first night but for a variety of reasons they hadn't quite opened but they gave us a plate of the most delicious beef ever as a taster. Really nice, ambitious, owners.

AnonymousMarch 25th 2010.

Is that gordo in the bib?

Slim JimMarch 25th 2010.

Nah, Gordo's not as fat.

C 2 The GMarch 25th 2010.

Cheeky gits, thats me - I really enjoyed Bem Brazil. Although couldn't walk after all that meat

AnonymousMarch 25th 2010.

Gordo's meat, or Bem Brasils?

EditorialMarch 25th 2010.

No it's not. Gordo is attacking the man with a carving knife from the left of the picture - you can see his hand. The man in the picture is a Brazilian stripogram artiste who's collecting meat to stuff down his pouch.

Mad PaddyMarch 25th 2010.

You seen more cow in one fell swoop than I seen in several visits Gordo. My many experiences of both Pau Brazil establishments have been abysmal bar the original visit after they'd just opened. On the very worst occasion, we were visited twice in a whole evening by the meat maestros - once with chicken and once with sausage (YAAAAYYYYY!). This was despite a table of 20 beside us getting undivided attention. To add insult to injury, we were entertaining clients, penned them a large email of complaint which wasn't even acknowledged never mind responded to. I got the distinct impression they wanted you to fill up on crap from the salad bar and then offered a token cheap meat selection. Had they provided any kind of response to my email dated May 2008, I might have given the benefit of the doubt but sadly not. Unfortunately for them it has cost them dearly as I continue to direct people to their competitors in the village - not ideal either - but miles better. If anyone from Pau reads this and wants a copy of my original email - leave me an address that might get responded to and I'll resend!

Matt CzyzykMarch 25th 2010.

Like others, I found the NQ restaurant to be too salty and poor on the second visit. Tropeiro in gaytown was much better and we were served with a real charm in there.

AvoMarch 25th 2010.

Agreed with the majority of posts above. I've been to both the Northern Quarter and Deansgate sites within the last month and have been disappointed on both occasions. Their gameplan is to fill you up on the cheaper cuts of meat first ie chicken thighs, chicken and bacon, sausages, pork ribs etc etc before the more expensive cuts of beef are sent out towards the end of your meal. On the most recent occasion I went, there was a birthday party of 8 of us and the service was very slow and the meat arrived very sporadically. Gordo is also correct about the misdescribing of the beef joints. Also, what happened to the more interesting things they used to serve like chicken hearts?

DottyMarch 25th 2010.

I visited the NQ restaurant last Saturday after having gone to the Deansgate restaurant 2 weeks previously. We were very disappointed with our visit as the waiters kept passing our table with the meat and going to tables near us. We eventually had to ask for them to bring meat over, there wasn't much choice, the service was very poor as we also had to ask for drinks and to top it all off after about an hour and a half we were asked if we could leave as they needed the table! For the price of the meal it is definitely not VFM and we will not return. I have also sent an e-mail of complaint which has not been responded to so they obviously aren't interested in customer feedback or opinions.
I won't recommend this place to any of my friends and will steer them away if they want to visit. The service wasn't brilliant at the Deansgate restaurant but we put that down to it being busy (not really an excuse but everyone has off days)which is why we decided to try the NQ, I wished I had visited one of the better restaurants in Manchester when spending my hard earned cash.

Rebecca11566March 25th 2010.

I had booked in for Easter Weekend but after reading the reviews think I will change to Tropiero where I've been before and at least know it's good! Just a shame they don't have live music which is what drew me to Bem Brazil but the service sounds pants, at Tropiero the staff are very friendly and accommodating.

Paul MastersMarch 25th 2010.

i always think it nice when restaurants make a note of who is on what and just place the food down without asking. You know its not a professionally run joint when they have to ask

NortherngeezerMarch 25th 2010.

Its the kind of place you go............ONCE!!!!. Great if your a carnivore, not so good if your not. This carnivore expected better a better quality product or even some Brazilian flavours, unfortunatly you get neither, i've had better pork sausages from Asda.

Mad PaddyMarch 25th 2010.

Glad it's not just me Dotty! As for putting it down to off days, I made the sorry mistake of doing that several times at both Bem Brasil places as I quite liked the churrascaria idea. BAD MOVE. Tropiero also leaves a lot to be desired but if you do like the churrascaria thing it's still streets ahead of both Bem Brasil efforts in terms of food - and the service is not comparable in the slightest. It's a pity some places fail to realise it's the customers that make a business successful. I've lost count of the amount of customer friends that I've redirected elsewhere. If they valued their customers they'd respond through this forum but like my email - I wouldn't hold my breath ... I'd likely die!

AnonymousMarch 26th 2010.

Awwwww, look at the happy man with his little meat tweasers.

Mad PaddyMarch 26th 2010.

... at least he's getting some! The only skirt I saw was the one the waitress was wearing. Tasty still - but not the point ;o)

At least I could tell it was definitely a skirt she was wearing - unlike some of their dubious cuts!

rufus t.13102March 26th 2010.

Actually I found the food and service superb, aside from the fact I was sat under a leak for the first hour (which i didn't notice, (had a leather jacket on) until I had a wet arse. Anyhoo we asked to be moved to another table and we were. Told to leave our half eaten meals behind, which we did and they were promptly thrown away, then at the new table we were treated as if we'd just walked in."Haloo! wilcom help yourrselfs to saaalaaad!" Groundhog Dayish. still it was my birthday treat off my sis so all in all an experience.

Leah BrothertonApril 15th 2010.

I agree - a good night at BB depends entirely on where you are seated...the first time we visited Deansgate we got sat in the smaller room and were hardly given any attention while a table of 12 were treated to everything on the menu. 2nd time we went for Valentines and were treated much better... hit and miss but when they hit I realy enjoyed it.

KristinaAugust 18th 2010.

Went here on a Friday evening straight after work a few months ago. Lovely food, had a great time. However, bill was wrong so they corrected it which was not a problem. Then my partner and I were literally chased to the front door with the accusation of not paying our bill. Turned out the girl who had collected it was walking round with it in her apron pocket and not yet handed it into the many staff congregated at the bar. As soon as I got home I sent an email to the manager to tell of the lack of competance and how humiliating it was to be chased to the front door by two staff. He however, did not agree and replied back to tell me how the customer is not always right and they had experienced it before people walking out without paying. This is not how you reply to a paying customer. Surely you cannot treat every customer as though they are not willing to pay. I found him very rude and abrupt and I will never go there again. Such a shame as the food was delicious.

AnonymousAugust 18th 2010.

They're relaunching the bar as a seperate venue tonight - I'm off so I hope the food and ciapirinhas are up to scratch. If I spot the 'Manager', I'll poke him in the eye Kristina

Ilir ZhaboliOctober 31st 2011.

I've first visited the Pau Brasil in the NQ in 2009, I heard so much about it, it's an amazing concept which you can't go wrong, the staff where very friendly, the kept asking if we want more meat,
Then I visited the new one in King Street west just off deansgate and I have to say that place is massive, certenly the biggest steak house I've ever been to.
The have a great selection of footballers singed shirts and picture of Pele And Bobby more.
You know why this is the footballer favourite place to eat, a lot of protein, we tried some cocktail which the bartender recommended to us, Bahia was the best one flavours of mango, chilli and lime so refreshening.
Great price for value £24.50 each for dinner is more then you get any where else, especially when you have the De Silva twins next to your table, which we asked for a cheacky autograph, fantastic for United fans.
Definitely Authentic and exotic with Brasilian dancer.
Keep up the good work Bem Brasil 9 out of 10*.

AnonymousDecember 23rd 2012.

Never ever have I been to such an awful extortionate place the manager is one bad egg and the staff look like they want to slit their wrists food dreadful dont do it (lever street) unless you want food poisoning what a dive :( gutted

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