By Ema Borges and Paola Bassanese
OK so Rio 2016 Olympics are still a few years away but give us any excuse to bring a bit of Brazil to London and we are a happy bunch. When Cabana Brasil opened in London’s Islington we cheered, and here’s why.
Cabana Islington’s charm begins outside the building, the outside walls are painted with a rainbow wash of inviting pretty pastels and your attention is instantly captured. On entering the restaurant I was greeted with a buzzing atmosphere and music that made me want to tap my feet. The walls were plastered with busy and colourful Brasilian event posters, giving the place an authentic street feel, and I later learned that Cabana had the posters made by the people of Brasil.
Another quirk that caught my eye on entering were the bar stools stitched with denim and the dining tables made of cheeseboards! Everywhere I looked there was something to fill my senses with, and speaking of senses let me tell you about taste.
I started my meal with some picky food from the ‘while you wait’ section of the menu, and being a cheese lover I went for the Parmesan and wild honey. The Parmesan was cubed and not too flaky, it tasted rich, full-bodied and pleasantly bitter, and the honey came in a separate bowl so that I could dip the cubes into it to add a sticky twist of sweetness to the strong and distinct cheese flavour. I think it would be perfect shared, because for a cheese lover it would have been too easy to gobble the whole lot myself, and believe me I came close!
My main course was the prawn moqueca, which is a traditional Brasilian curry dish I’ve had in the past and am a huge fan of, and I have to say I was very impressed with the lay out and the taste. It was served with biro biro rice and farofa; the biro biro rice is a Brasilian fried rice served with a sprinkling of crispy shallots on top.
The moqueca was a creamy, coconutty, mouthwatering experience, and the prawns were juicy and meaty. I wish the meal could have gone on forever if only I didn’t get so full! Mixed with the rice and topped with a pinch of the farofa the taste combination was a delicious assault on my taste buds.
I highly recommend Cabana as a fun, creative and delicious venue to visit.
The new Cabana Brasil in Islington ticks all the boxes: great location, great food, great music and great atmosphere.
There’s also some good thinking behind it like supporting charities and microbusinesses in South America. There’s recycled materials like bronze from old gas tubes to recycled fabric to cover the sofas and stools.
We had a BRAZILLIANT meal: I had plaintain chips and guacamole for starter, feijoada for mains and flourless chocolate cake for dessert.
The guacamole was very chunky and not too spicy, it tasted subtle and not too oniony and spicy (you normally get an avalanche of onions in guacamole!).
The plantain chips were a revelation: they were crunchy and very potatoey but unlike potatoes they have no starch so they had extra snap to it.
The feijoada was fabulous and came with pulled pork and nicely fragrant rice as well with added chopped fresh red onions and some thinly sliced plantain chips for extra crunch. The feijoada had a nice flavour and the pulled pork was tender and succulent; the beans where melt in your mouth soft and delicate. Dessert was a flourless chocolate cake which was beautiful: it was the perfect ending of the meal, dense and intense but not stodgy.