How can it be that Valentine’s Day has been and gone for another year? It hardly seems possible that The Chap took me to The Swan at Ingham more than 365 days ago.
And yet it’s true.
And true to tradition, he found me another new place to eat in Norwich. Huzzah! He knows me so well. This time it was House of Tiago on Norwich’s Tombland – in a rather beautiful Georgian building a few doors along from the entrance to Norwich Cathedral.
For those of you that don’t know, House of Tiago is a Brazilian rodizio – or barbecue – and I have been intrigued by the concept for quite some time.
We headed there for a 1pm booking, enjoying the crisp afternoon and bright sunlight, in a bizarrely deserted Norwich. All I can think was that everyone else was at home staying warm!
Getting started with Brazilian barbecue
Even though the restaurant was busy when we arrived, we were given a warm welcome and shown to a table by the window on the ground floor, where we could sit and watch the world go by (or not, as previously mentioned). The table was laid with an interesting red/green card, cutlery, plates and tongs, all of which will be explained shortly.
Having never been to the restaurant before, we were given a quick run-through on how the meal would work and what we should expect. The main thing to remember: if you’re hungry, show the green side of your card, if you’re not, turn it over so that the red side shows.
Next, we were told our waitress would be over to take our drinks orders, before bringing us some seasoned fries each and we were to help ourselves at the salad bar as many times as we liked. The meat element of the meal would be brought round on skewers by the serving staff and we could take as much as we wanted using the tongs. The meat servers would keep coming to the table for as long as we were hungry (or showing the green side of the card), and we should feel free to take a break as necessary.
So, let’s start at the beginning: cocktails.
There’s a good wine list (although few are available by the glass), plus beers and soft drinks – but it was the cocktails that caught our eye. The Chap opted for the tangy, limey Dark and Stormy, while I went for the potent Tiago Rum Punch. Needless to say, neither of us regretted our choices. The Dark and Stormy was a real palate cleanser, while the Punch was tangy and refreshing and certainly didn’t taste as boozy as I was expecting, considering it contained three types of rum.
After the drinks and fries arrived, we headed to the massive salad bar at the side of the room. With salsas, quinoa, couscous, peppers and cheeses, there was a lot to choose from. It certainly made me feel better about eating such a vast quantity of meat. I was particularly taken with the pineapple salad, with onions and coriander. The tart sweetness of the fruit was a perfect counterbalance to the rich protein.
But the meat was the real star of the show. Barbecued to perfection, it was brought out on skewers and sliced at the table, so you could take as much as you wanted. There was a real air of ceremony about it, which made the whole experience feel rather special.
Every single portion was charred and smoky on the outside and tender and succulent within. It was all I could do to exercise portion control, so that I didn’t peak to early.
Prime steak was the first meat to appear, with rare and medium-rare to choose from. While I’m not a big rare steak fan, it was divine and just melted in the mouth.
It was followed by chilli chicken, with a sweet and spicy coating, garlic beef, chilli beef, beef skirt, pork sausage, gammon and minted lamb. But out our real favourite was the Brazilian sausage; a mix of chorizo, pork and beef, it was almost addictive. The paprika ran through the moist, tender sausage, which was perfectly seasoned. It was so good, we managed to squeeze two in.
Towards the end, we decided to share a portion of the meats between us, because we were just getting so full. We only had one portion of fries each because we couldn’t eat anymore.
And if all that doesn’t sound great, then the price will. Lunch set The Chap back £14.95 a head (plus £6.95 a cocktail). Yep. Less than £15 for a high quality, all you can eat lunch. Dinner (after 5pm) isn’t too much more expensive either, costing £19.95 during the week and £24.95 Friday and Saturday.
Know of other fantastic restaurants in Norwich? Send me a tweet – I love checking out new places to eat in Norfolk.