Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Cabana Brazilian Barbeque

Cabana is a restaurant which prides itself as being a Brazilian Barbecue that takes flavours from the streets of Rio De Janeiro. This restaurant has been growing in stature over the last 5 years, and has opened 7 restaurants up to date with 6 of them being in London. The concept of a Brazilian barbecue has not really been touched on yet here, although there are quite a few Steakhouses & restaurants serving various currys and "fusion" Latin American food. The likes of Las Iguanas, Bem Brazil, Cafe Brazil comes to mind. However, Cabana's menu seems to echo the culinary delights that have famed the streets of Brazil for so long.
I wouldn't be surprised if the recent World Cup has increased profits for this restaurant tremendously; I have a feeling the owners are grateful for this incredible event which has given them free advertisement for over 2 months.  

The interior of this restaurant is quite special. It has a funky, eclectic feel with lots of bright lights and colours on the wall. The Westfield branch has a cool, colourful spiral couch situated right in the centre of the restaurant. The South American music along with the interior makes this Latin vibe instantly felt as you walk into the restaurant. Your senses are immediately overwhelmed without the food even being served yet!

For starters, I ordered the Cheesy Dough Balls (Pao de Queijo). This is served with the garlic butter. I am not really a so-called "cheese fanatic" but this dish tasted very nice, not too cheesy, not too oily either (even though it was deep fried). It had a nice crunch to each bite I took, which is always a nice feeling, and the cheese didn't feel like rubber when it entered my mouth.

Next up were the Chicken Coxinhas, which were in the same shape as the dough balls. and were basically seasoned croquettes of shredded chicken. When I was eating this, I imagined myself on the streets of Rio, along side run down food stalls. Each stall had a huge pot where all the deep frying would be done and a grill along side it, all manned by one person, whilst another person would be at the counter taking payment. These stalls stood right next to a patch of land where children were playing football every single day till dusk. Both of these would be the type of dish served in one of these stalls for approximately 10 pence a portion. At Cabana it was £4.95 a portion, which was not bad for London standards.

I am a huge chicken lover when it comes to eating, so for the main course I looked no further beyond ordering Spicy Malagueta Chicken Skewer and the Zingy Lime & Garlic Chicken Skewer. They both come hanging on a vertical metallic skewer. Looks quite aesthetically pleasing, but as soon as the chicken makes contact with your tongue an explosion of flavours occur, the lemon and garlic mixes perfectly from the Zingy Lime & Garlic Chicken Skewer which isn't so spicy but tastes wonderful. The chef has done a great job perfecting the marinade not making the coating too thick or thin. On the menu it says that the Spicy Malagueta Chicken Skewer is the best seller and it is highlighted in turquoise. It certainly was the best dish of the night, and being a spice lover, I truly appreciated the hot blast that came from the spicy marinade. But as always I am going to complain about the portion sizes, 4 pieces of chicken and 4 bell peppers should NOT be a portion size. The portions must be bigger as one man needs to eat one appetiser and two mains in order to NOT go hungry.

What I didn't like was that the EXACT SAME sauce they used for the marinade in both dishes, were also kept on each table as chilli sauce. This seemed a bit unprofessional and slightly amateurish. It is like going to Nandos and finding the Nando's marinade instead of the lemon & herb, medium, garlic, hot sauces on the counter. The marinade and the chilli sauce MUST be different.
The slightly disappointing part of this menu was that it didn't have fried plantain in its menu. I know for a fact that fried plantain is a dish served in West African, Mexican and Brazilian cuisine as a snack. This is actually one of my favourite snacks to eat at home, and it's a shame that this restaurant is missing this dish in its "sides".
My waiter was actually quite rude and seemed a bit lazy when carrying out orders. The food came quickly, but the wrong dishes came to our table at first, however I observed the service around me on other people's tables and it seemed fine, so perhaps it was just a coincidence.

The Verdict:

Ambience - 6.5/10
Food - 6/10
Service - 5/10

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