Does Meat Heaven = Veggie Hell?

Review of Fogo, Ealing's new Churrasco restaurant

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Some people just love meat, the smell, taste, texture,the whole package. I'm not one of them. So it was slightly surreal to be invited to the opening of the newest restaurant on the Ealing block - Fogo.

Don't get me wrong I'm not a militant crusading vegetable 'rights' person and don't have any Morrissey style 'issues' but to go to a restaurant which is basically a celebration of meat - all kinds - is perhaps a slightly odd move. Why would I - a non-meat eater - frequent meaty heaven - what could be in it for me and how would I be able to review it being 'dietarily challenged'?

Problem was solved fairly swiftly. My carnivorous partner licked his lips and was only too willing to take on the meat tastings which left me to indulge on the vegetable delights.

And indulge we both did. Fogo provided us with a non-stop feast - meat and veg.

Starting with a huge and colourful selection of salads, chips, pitta and rice, we were glad we had arrived hungry. This is not the place to go for a snack, there is a serious amount of food on offer here (think scooby snack) and it keeps coming too and this was just the starter!

When the mains arrived we were already beginning to feel rather full but the passadors (carvers) enticed my partner to try a selection of the night's offerings. They expertly wielded big, sharp knives and delicately sliced through sausage, gammon, chicken, lamb and several types of beef.

The amount of time that meat is cooked is a personal preference;my partner generally prefers his beef rare - and tells me it's all medium done. He would have liked the option. Perhaps worth noting for the future - if you want rare or well done it may be worth sticking in a request early on.

The 'special' beef was declared to be the best of the bunch, it was both 'very tender and extremely tasty'.

Fortunately whilst meat is the main star here veggies aren't sidelined (for a change). Restaurants - even predominantly meaty ones like this, are making more of an effort these days and realise there's just no escaping us.

The passadors provided me with roasted vegetables, cheese and a non-meat sausage but I was beginning to feel rather full and had to concede defeat early.

Tokens at the table in green and red indicate whether the waiters should return - green for 'keep it coming' and red for 'please stop feeding me'! You could stay eating all night long if you really wanted.

Not in our case - we were well fed and as usual we had no room for desert. Fogo offers a big selection including: Cheesecake, Chocolate cake, Apple Tart, Pavlova, Jam Rolly Polly, strawberry & banana fritter and a range of Rossi ice creams.

The continual bustle of the passadors to and from the table may be a little intrusive for some but the Fogo experience is quite unique and lends itself for an unusual and entertaining night out.

I don't expect the dancing girls and drummers will be there every night (a shame as it certainly gives the place a party atmosphere) but the plentiful supply of food will no doubt be staying.

Owner Nick Lebetkin has taken a brave step opening a new restaurant just before Christmas - and in a time of recession, but he is upbeat and confident.

Being quite so close to the uber cheap Sir Malcolm Bacon Weatherspoons pub (steak and chips for £5.99) may not be such a good move.

I wish Fogo lots of success.

Give it a go and let me know what you think.

Top Tip - Arrive hungry.

Prices - now reduced

Full Fogo £17.50 reduced from £19.95
Chicken Fogo £12.50
Vegetarian Fogo £15.50 reduced from £19.95

Child Fogo (5-10 years) £ 9.95

Under 5s eat free

*Fully loaded Fogo Pitta £6.95

For lunch and midweek for £4.99 - a Fogo lite 3 pieces of chicken or mustard sausages, chips and salad.

Fogo Desserts £4.65 Opening hours Monday - Thursday 12:00 - 11:00pm Friday - Saturday 12:00 - 1:00am Sunday 12:00 - 10:30pm

Annemarie Flanagan




December 4, 2009