THERE is casual dining, there is formal dining and then there is event dining.
You know the type of thing ... a restaurant where you are drawn as much for the novelty and theatrical flair as for the food.
Falling firmly into that category is Tropeiro. I mean, come on, just how well-known is Brazilian cuisine?
But the idea of an all-you-can eat feast where blokes dressed as gauchos carve meat from a skewer at your table? That’s cool.
What’s that – you are given a card to turn to the green side for “keep it coming” and to the red for “stop, I’m stuffed”? Excellent.
But in all that showbiz, can the food stand up to the hype?
You know what ... it more than did on the night Mrs B and I went along with a couple of pals.
There was a wee barrier to get over first of all. Dinner here checks in at a pricey £22.50 a skull. But, in fairness, they encourage you to linger and graze, making a proper meal of your night out.
The opening gambit is a huge salad bar with exotic offerings, like a chick pea and olive dish which proved yum, or cous cous, spicy tatties, noodly things, a chilli paste that was full-on, and much more – including what looked like hot goulash and a fish stew.
I’d like to be more precise but there was nothing to tell you what you were tucking into. Signs might be an idea.
But it was all delicious. So much so that we had to show restraint not to stuff ourselves.
Besides, as the gauchos arrived with the food, we knew we were in for a treat.
Some myths have grown up around this place – including a suggestion waiters offer cheaper stuff first, like spicy chicken wings and garlicky sausages, to fill you up before the prime cuts arrive.
Nonsense. It comes as it comes and our first offering was a fantastic cut of pork roasted with lime, pepper, chilli and garlic – I know because the friendly gaucho told me.
It was sublime and more-ish – although the next offering was the aforementioned chicken wings, which were superb, then meaty, chunky barbecued ribs.
Our cards stayed green and the food kept coming – including a flavoursome beef skirt, not the best cut of meat but transformed by virtue of long, slow roasting into something quite special.
It almost vied with the top rump for quality – although the rump had a winning, salty, tangy crust.
We were flagging, but those cards stayed green for fear of missing something fine – like the beautiful garlic beef bites and the rosemary-infused lamb.
Now the cards were turned to red – but the gauchos came across just to be sure.
And they managed to talk us into chicken wrapped with bacon and even a chicken heart for the brave soul among us. It wasn’t me.
We toyed with the idea of dessert but were disappointed to learn that cost extra, on top of your £22.50. A bit grippy, that.
In the end the bill came in at an eye-watering £120 plus for the four of us, including our four beers and bottle of wine. Ouch.
But if you look at it as a night out – we were there for more than two hours, we thoroughly loved the food and the atmosphere – it was fair enough.
It’s an experience worth having.