With 16 cuts of meat to work through, vegetarians need not apply. Jill Turton takes on the gut-busting menu at Vaqueiros.

Vaqueiros, York
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For what we are about to receive… I am going to quote verbatim from the menu at Vaqueiros, a Brazilian restaurant which opened last month in York. Let me tell you this is not a menu where you choose, you get the lot. Let me tell you, too, that this excludes an all-you-can eat buffet of starters and desserts. Here goes, hope you’re feeling hungry.

Meat on the giant grill at Vaqueiros in York.

There’s Alcatra (rump); Maminha (rump tail); Picanha (cap of rump); Ponta de Filé (ribeye); Contra Filé (Sirloin); Filé Mignon (fillet); Fraudinha (brevet); Costela de Vaca (beef ribs) and that’s just the beef. Eight different cuts. We’re half way.
Hang on with me for Cordeiro (lamb); Presunto (gammon); Barriga de Porco (pork belly); Brocheta (pork fillet medallions); Linguiça (sausages); Coraçãco de Frango (chicken hearts); Coxa de Frango (chicken thigh); Frango com Bacon (chicken and bacon).
Yes, according to the management, people do indeed sit for three hours and work through the lot. They must be shot putters or rugby props bulking up. The price is £24.95 at dinner, terrific value if you scoff it all and £11.95 at lunch with a mere eight cuts to work through.
There has been something of an explosion in the last few years of these all-you-can-eat Brazilian-style restaurants known as Rodízio. I’ve counted half a dozen in Leeds alone.
Clearly it’s a business plan that works. Because shot putters are in the minority, I ate with two committed carnivores who were gorged after six generous cuts. I managed just three.

 The salad bar at Vaqueiros in York.

But first the salad bar with a dozen or so dishes displayed on ice. I don’t think it was consciously retro but it did cue distant memories of Fanny Cradock: Russian salad, cubes of cheese, mayo heavy prawns with rolls of smoked salmon, grilled vegetables, trays of salami and more and we are free to go pile it up as much and as often as we like. Careful. You might fill up before the fleshfest even starts.
So, armed like cowboys, or Vaqueiros, we lift steak knife and fork ready for action. The chef serves the meat himself, resting his skewer on the table and carving with a blade that wouldn’t be out of place hacking through the Amazonian rain forest, deftly meeting our request for both medium and rare. We have tweezers to catch the slices.
On through rump tail, ribeye, then some truly tender fillet, followed by brevet. The menu has one of those diagrams of a cow with all the cuts numbered and annotated so you can follow your route through the beast.
A basket of fries arrives with some puffy little cheese rolls called Pão de Queijo and if like me you want something more with your meat, the buffet has an authentic looking feijoada – the dark, deep, velvety black bean stew of Brazil – and a bowl of cassava meal with which to dust the top. I also find some little scarlet biquinho peppers, a touch of sweetness but with none of the chilli heat.

Our table has those beer mats – red on one side, green on the other – to indicate when we want more or to pause.
The staff are unfailingly polite and charming but if there is such a thing as over service, then we are victims of it: ‘Is everything alright?’ ‘Are you enjoying it?’ ‘Would you like more of anything?’ ‘Is everything alright?’ ‘Would you like a jug of water’. ‘Is everything alright?’. ‘Another drink?’ Stop it. Please. Especially the parting ‘And are we going on anywhere interesting tonight?’
The room is big and bright with the look and feel of a canteen – the place to come with a crowd but otherwise characterless. We had no space for desserts variously made with condensed milk, sugared plums, chocolate and more. There are Brazilian lagers and complimentary shots of cachaça rum There is a fish dish and a vegetable dish but I can’t see your vegetarian friends thanking you for bringing them here.

Who knows how long this Rodizio fad will last? That said, the meat at Vaqueiros, is undoubtedly good. It’s sourced locally from Sykes Farm in Wetherby and is superior to the meat I’ve eaten in other Rodizio’s. Big beef eaters, this is your time.
Vaqueiros Brazilian Rodizio, 1 Micklegate, York YO1 6JG, 01904 622737, vaqueiros.co.uk.
Price: £49.90 All-you-can eat
dinner for two plus wine and service.

About The Author

Jill Turton

Jill Turton is a freelance food and travel journalist who writes for numerous publications. She inspects restaurants for national food guides and is a regular reviewer for the Yorkshire Post. Jill is author of Good Food in Yorkshire and the Time Out Guide to the Lake District and with Mandy Wragg writes the Yorkshire online food guide www.squidbeak.co.uk'

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