Saturday, 19 November 2011

Cabana London: Fulfilling all of our Protein-Fueled Brazilian BBQ Dreams

The funky interior
I am on a mission to look HOT when we step off a plane in Australia in five weeks time. Two years have passed since our last sojourn, and I don't want the punters Down Under to think that we (really me) have gone to seed owing to the excesses of London life. This means curbing all of the fun things: booze, chocolate, tasty stuff. But joy of joy, we are allowed excessive amounts of protein. You cannot imagine our excitement when we saw that James Barber, formerly of Sake No Hana, Villandry and Hush, was about to open his Brazilian BBQ joint, Cabana, in Central St Giles, Covent Garden.

Having secured some seats during the soft-launch opening, I can report that the place got multiple ticks for those looking for some protein-fueled BBQ goodness. The funky interior shows the attention to detail that we have come to expect of Barber: think soaring colourful ceilings, banquettes made from patchworks of denim jeans, distressed raw wood floors and the theatre of an open BBQ pit.
 In many ways, Cabana is a traditional Brazilian churrascaria with the staff wandering the restaurant tempting punters with skewers of BBQ abundance. The main difference, however, is that whilst at most churrascarias you pay one price (between £19 - £27 in London) for all of the meat or seafood you can eat, at Cabana you pay per large skewer consumed (between £3.35 - £5.95).  I have to admit, I found Cabana better on a food quality and price basis than other London haunts.

Chicken coxinhas: the right hint of spice
Under the street food entrees, I can heartily recommend the chicken coxinhas (croquettes of shredded chicken with the right hit of spice £4.35). I do wish however that we'd had the ability to try the sweetcorn pamonhas (grated sweetcorn with a hint of cinnamon wrapped in a corn husk and steamed in coconut milk £3.35). As for the skewers, the chimichurri black gold rump, the chilli and cumin lamb (both £5.95)  and the spicy chicken ( £5.45) were all good. Fulfilling all of my BBQ dreams were the sticky baby back ribs (£5.45) that offered a big whack of chilli and sweet spice. A little disappointing were the spicy tiger prawns (£5.95) that could perhaps have been spicier and more abundant and the chicken sausage wheel (£4.50).
Pork tenderloin with Parmesan crust
Chimicurri black gold rump
Sides and salads included offerings such as sweet potato fries (£3.45), biro-biro rice (£2.85), spicy prawn and avocado salad (£8.75) or tomato and palm hearts (£3.65). Whilst we didn't partake due to the looking HOT restrictions, dessert were a limited offering of frozen yoghurt (natural, peanut butter or caramel with funky topping £3.95), ice-cream and sorbet (vanilla, melon, banana and kiwi, mango £3.65) or banana and caramel cheesecake (£4.95). The cocktail list was extensive and will certainly tempt us back in our post Aussie holiday haze.

Look at all of that BBQ goodness

Go for the great inexpensive BBQ and cocktails, funky interior and soaring ceilings and the friendly and attentive staff.

Cabana on Urbanspoon

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