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Restaurant review: Meet Brazilian

It is the only restaurant of it's kind in the country, outside London, so what else is there to recommend at the Bold Street Meet?

Published on March 22nd 2007.

Restaurant review: Meet Brazilian

Thumper would have made a terrible restaurant critic. Think about it. A large, instantly recognisable cartoon rabbit sashaying around town, demanding the best tables and making chef's lives hell by only ever talking about the carrots.

And what an attitude problem: “If ya can't say nothin' nice, don't say anything at all.” It would never have worked.

But it's easy to be like Bambi's best mate, and I would be lying if I said I had never screwed up a bill, chucked it in the bin and written (or not, as the case may be) a meal off as an amnesiac's bad dream.

I almost did that after a trip to Meet in Bold Street last week. But I can't forget.

First, let us not confuse this Meet with Meet down in Brunswick Street, the Argentinian arm of the business, which does very well and the only reports you ever hear are sizzlers. People like their steak and chips, and Argentinian Meet evidently hits the spot, if not the the coronary jackpot, every time. Hooray.

At the other end of town, it's a different story, where the Liverpool owners hope to add new meaning to the term going for a Brazilian.

Or maybe not: We are met at the door by a gaggle of giggly girlies just leaving. “Is Ladies Night,” explains the Cuban chap who seats us. This means it's two-for-one on Tuesday, “but only from 5pm to 7pm”. Bikini waxing parlours take note.

We quickly notice that while the food is reasonably priced, the wine isn't, and, as it is 9pm and we are virtually alone in here, we cheekily ask our new friend if he can bend the rules. He can't, and anyway, all tables are monitored by CCTV. Oh really?

There are no windows to speak of in this beautiful old building, so, to create an illusion of light, deep pink bulbs burn behind swathes of pleated voile draped on every wall. No barbecues allowed.

Away from the day job, Claire Rider, doyenne of marketing at National Museums Liverpool, is a bit of a thrill seeker. She therefore jumps into the game at the deep end, wanting either of the two dishes with heart of palm, an expensive vegetable harvested from the inner core and growing bud of coconut trees. But it is off, as it Carranguejo ao Forno, freshly baked crab. Blimey, did those early doors girls scoff the lot?

She is third time luckier with pastel de frango (£3.75), deep fried chicken and sweetcorn parcels, but the joy is short lived, as is the wait, the dishes arriving with indecent haste. Unfortunately Ms Rider is not impressed by the batter, it is oily, and soon gives up. Talk about frittering money away.

I order Quibe, a lamb kebab (£3.75) and a common dish in Brazil, apparently. I am presented with two large round lumps of meat which are roughly the weight, texture and flavour of cricket balls. Either that or there are some very angry rams hobbling around the lower plains of Sugarloaf mountain at the moment.

My friend fares little better with the feijoada (£8.95). Brazil’s national dish is a stew made of smoked sausage, pork, beef, bacon and black beans. Here it comes in a round bowl on a huge platter of rice, oranges, farofa (seasoned tapioca meal), curly kale and caldo picante, a dip.

It sounds good, as do many of the items on this imaginative and authentic sounding menu, which has clearly been dreamed up by someone who has done some homework in creating this, one of the only Brazilian restaurants in the UK. But the food that we order badly lets the side down. Perhaps it is an off-night - the best places have them – so in a month we will go back and tell you more.

After a manful struggle, the dark mass of feijoada is pronounced tasteless. Oh dear, “just like stock cubes and beans”, says Claire. “But the rice is nice,” she keeps repeating, “and the oranges are nice.”

Meanwhile, a side order of deep fried yuca root (£1.95) is not unlike how I imagine deep fried Daz tablets to taste and even the frites (£1.50) are long past redemption.

If I'd wanted to do a joke about fancying a nice bit of skirt I'd have brought Gordo with me, but not wishing to fork out £20 on the beef fillet, the way forward seems to be an £8.95 carne del sol (air dried skirt steak). Bad move. I later discover that skirt is a tough beast that needs show and careful handling, not the flash frying or grilling meted out here - unless it has been marinated for several hours. Unadorned by any sauce (you have to stump up two quid extra for that) it eventually defeats the jaw and our efficient and pleasant waiter joins us in an impromptu frowning contest as the half full plates go back.

Ccoconut pudding saves Claire's day, despite the squirty cream. It is quite delicious, reports the ravenous one. A large glass of white saves mine.

Thumper would have been lost for words.

Rating: 10/20.

Meet Brazilian, 66 Bold Street, Liverpool. Tel: 0151 707 6508.

Angie Sammons

Pictures by Chris Keller-Jackson

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