I wrote about the recent blogger event at Cabana Islington; after that, it was time to try the restaurant in Brixton.
Provided you turn the correct way when you come out of the station (which I didn’t – look out for the New Look and it’s down the next side street) the restaurant is only a two-minute walk away. It has a slightly different look and feel than the Islington branch: it seems bigger and airier, partly because it actually is bigger and partly because of windows lining two of the walls (though they also have a downstairs section). However, in both branches, there were posters covering the walls and elements of up-cycling. It is important to the founders that not only the food is authentic, but that the restaurants feel true to Brasil, and this is how they have gone about capturing the spirit of it.
We were handed a Caipirinha as soon as we arrived, and these were kept well topped up throughout the evening. When I have to say ‘No, thank you, I’m fine’ to the offer of another cocktail, we’ve definitely been well looked after.
We got to meet Jamie Barber, one of the founders, which was really interesting. As I attended with a fellow publishing geek, we ended up chatting about the Cabana cookbook, full of recipes from the restaurants, and we found out there is going to be another. It is a very good-looking book:
Let’s get back to the food, though! This was an opportunity to try a large selection of the menu, so we were seriously spoiled. Since there were two of us sharing almost the same as those at tables of four, it was a very good thing that we were both hungry.
We were provided with enough starters to make a meal: tortilla chips and guacamole; crispy squid; chicken and onion lettuce wraps (which sounds weird, but I really liked these); cheesy dough balls; halloumi with guava dip; and spicy malagueta chicken doughnuts. I’m not good with very spicy food, but I did like the malagueta sauce, which wasn’t overly strong. We even got a bottle of it to take away, so I’ll need to learn how to make something interesting! (I should get the cookbook!)
After all this, it was time for the main course. They brought out skewers of spicy chicken and peppers, chicken wrapped in bacon with pineapple, Cabana steak and the pork and papaya sausage wheel. As if this wasn’t enough, they also presented us with sweet potato fries, Cassava fries, a quinoa salad, and a tomato and palm heart salad. Now, we can both eat, but I think our expressions when we were handed the fourth/fifth/sixth starter or fourth side might have been quite funny.
For dessert, we got the Nutella dough balls, and then we rolled towards the station and home.
I’m not a particularly adventurous eater, so I have to admit that Cabana is somewhere I probably wouldn’t have tried myself. I’m really glad to have had the chance to try all this different food, as now I would definitely go back. My choice would be lettuce wraps for starters, chicken wrapped in bacon for main with sweet potato fries (oh, but the steak!) and I would definitely love to try more of the desserts: frozen yoghurt, caramel flake, chocolate cake or truffles, anyone?
Thank you, Cabana and PR&EI, for the invite to a fantastic night out. You (both!) have lovely staff and we were made to feel very much at home. I thought I might never eat again after that, but remembering it all has made me a little peckish…
(And thank you to my friend, Sarah, for sending me her photos of the event, as I forgot my camera and the camera on my phone is useless.)