Jonathan Schofield gets stoned on meat - in an manner of speaking
Nobody can have any beef about Churrasco. The well-established Aigburth Road restaurant has now been joined by a city centre outlet that maintains the standard.
The recent venture sits on Paradise Street in a handsome 1899 property that was radically overhauled in 2017 by Liverpool’s award-winning design practice Falconer Chester Hall. Fierce red on the outside with a curved frontage the restaurant delivers good street presence.
If lamb loves mint sauce then steak loves chimichurri
Inside it is all a bit cluttered with heavy furnishings and booths presumably to give the place the feel of a gaucho shack lost in the Pampas of South America; the original Churrascarias. It doesn’t quite work but it’s comfortable enough. The service during a quiet lunchtime was excellent.
The food was good too, the main event, the steaks were superb.
The garlic chilli prawns (£8.50) provided an explosion of colour. The juicy nature of the dish, the white wine sauce, the tomatoes combined with the prawn to loving effect. The juiciness provided the added service of rendering the gum-slicing properties of the sourdough beneath totally redundant. All in a very good version of a classic dish. The braised steak croquettes (£7.95) were another matter. The words heavy and dull spring to mind and if anything the mild horseradish sauce that accompanied them was too mild.
The British-sourced steaks were glorious. My 8oz fillet (£35.45) came on a big lava stone heated, apparently, to 350 degrees. It came raw and seasoned. If you’ve not eaten a steak like this before you’ll find it an entertaining and clever way of sorting your own timing of the meat. If you like your steaks, say, medium rare you can hit that perfectly.
Normally, it’s chefs who should cook in restaurants, after all, we’ve come to the restaurant and paid for the service, but this big heated stone method is great fun.
More good news was the excellent flesh was enhanced by the sauce. If lamb loves mint sauce then steak loves chimichurri. Churrasco offers a wonderfully lush chimichurri, a mix of chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil and lemon, plus no doubt some other bits and bobs.
A 11oz ribeye (£27.95) came medium rare as requested and was as good as the fillet. Sweet potato fries (£3.95) and rocket and parmesan salad (£3.25) were fine. The cheddar mash (£4.50) was spot on, creamy, but not loose.
The dessert was another hit. The salted caramel cheesecake (£8) was correct in every characteristic mingling crunch with yield and carrying the one element all good desserts should carry, sweetness.
The whole Churrasco experience was easy and pleasurable. The wonderful 2014 Larchago Rioja reserva added to the occasion. This restaurant is recommended and if you go try out that lava stone idea. It works really well.
Chancery House which hosts Churrasco was built 124-years-ago as the Gordon Smith Institute. It was for seamen who had fallen on hard times. These steaks would have picked them up in double-quick time.
Churrasco Steak House, Unit 1, Chancery House, Paradise St, Liverpool L1 3HE.
All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidentials and completely independent of any commercial relationship. They are a first-person account of one visit by one, knowledgeable restaurant reviewer and don't represent the company as a whole.
Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
Salad 6, croquettes 5.5, garlic chilli prawns 7, sweet potato fries 6, fillet steak 8, chimichurri 8, ribeye 8, mash 7.5, caramel cheesecake 8