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Seasoned restaurateurs Jamie Barber & David Ponte (Hush, Momo et al) have teamed up for this relaxed riff on the in-vogue Brazilian barbecue theme. Rio-born Ponte knows all about his homeland’s
‘churrascaria’ traditions, & the new venture serves gutsy morsels in a hand-made, streetwise setting of plank floors, poster-lined walls & banquettes upholstered with recycled jeans from
São Paulo favelas. ‘Cabanistas’ circulate through the room, flaunting colour-coded skewers loaded with everything from marinated chicken thighs or chimichurri rump steak to giant portobello
mushrooms with haloumi. Order pao de queijo (cheese dough balls), palm heart ‘pastels’ or chicken empadas on the side, & finish with something from the bespoke frozen yoghurt bar. ‘Lovely
people, & great with kids’, commented one South American mum.
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07 July 2014
Great food and friendly staff. I'm a vegetarian and had the vege quesadilla which was very filling and the french fries were lovely. We ordered a dessert to takeaway and they took 20 minutes to bring it to us but they ended up giving it to us for free which made up for it.
20 April 2013
We went here for a family night out. St Giles is a weird slightly no-mans-land location about 5mins walk from Tottenham Court Road tube station. The place was pretty much packed out, so quite buzzy but not overwhelmingly noisy like some large spaces can be. The food was good – well-cooked, tasty Brasilian dishes with some spice to them. Everyone was pleased with their choices. We spent about £30 pp including drinks & service.
22 February 2013
I went to the Shephards Bush restaurant last Saturday and overall I enjoyed it but they are in need of improving on the basics. The staff were ok, they delivered the food but failed to make any special impression or seem the least bit friendly. We arrived fairly early and just fancied a casual bite to eat before the cinema but as we were leaving there was a huge queue out the door that looked very disgruntled. I couldnt see any member of staff going over and at least acknowledging their presence which would have discouraged me from waiting any further. The toilet facilities also left a lot to be desired, they had clearly not been cleaned for a while at the time of visiting.
Regardless the food was very tasty. The chicken crocettas for starter were bursting with flavour although the portion was a little stingy. The same could be said for the chicken, mango and avocado salad. Basically a tiny (but flavourful) piece of chicken thrown in with a tone of lettuce, scrapping of mango and slice of avocado. I finished so quickly I was left to look on with envy as my boyfriend finished off his giant chicken.
I probably would go back and hope that the service had improved slightly and just make sure I order extra sides.
13 November 2012
We went to the Cabana at Westfield Stratford on Friday night. We were given menus then ignored for almost fifteen minutes until somebody took our drinks order. We ordered Sangria to get in the Rio mood and were surprised when we were served a jug that looked like a Tequila Sunrise – with the lemon and orange at the bottom of the jug and the wine on top because nobody had stirred it. We also asked for water and were given a smaller jug of that but without any glasses.
One of the crew came over and asked us if we had been there before, when we told her that this was our first time there she offered to ‘interpet’ the menu for us. Thinking that there must be more to this than appeared we assented and she started to read the menu to us, a feat that we had actually managed despite the poor lighting.
We ordered starters of the cheese dough balls and the chicken rissoles and I ordered their spicy chicken and peppers on a skewer while my beloved ordered the BBQ ribs. All of the food arrived at the same time – which suggested that their need for interpetation was greater than ours – and was, at best, bland. Only their mule sauce added a kick to the chicken and the BBQ ribs didn't have any BBQ sauce on them. When this was pointed out to our server she apologised, said that it was her first day [which I would have queried judging by her dexterity on the electronic till] and took the remainder of the rack back and just heated it through.
I hate to say it but I have been better fed by McDonalds at much less cost
10 September 2012
Cabana could not be further from the evocative wooden hut that its name suggests. It is a large, entirely glass-walled, high-ceilinged open space much more suited to a shopping centre setting (which is where the second branch is appropriately located apparently) than to central London. Despite it being a Saturday night it was also rather empty and the sheer size of the place translates that into deserted. So I was a bit disappointed when we walked in (not least because I had suggested it!). The toilets, however, are totally in keeping with the theme and worth a visit: flip flops nailed to the doors, driftwood-mounted mirrors, pastel-painted tin walls. I can't rave about the food though: it's a churascaria and in theory I am a big fan of anything which involves eating limitless meat. In practice though I found the meat poor in quality and overcooked. Chewing through the first bit of steak I tried was hard work and put me off stuffing my stomach to the limits of its expandability. Perhaps this is a deliberate plan on the part of the management in order to preserve profits which would otherwise be eaten away by my eating habits, but if so it rather backfires as I don't think I'll be back. The low point was dessert when we chose natural yoghurt with range of chocolatey toppings: both those elements are tempting but the combination is a disaster and most of us ate only one bit or the other. Having said all that, there is definitely a place for this restaurant: it's for those occasions when fun and convenience trump discerning tastebuds, for example for group meals and for kids. It wasn't too expensive (about £45 a head for 3 big courses and lots of booze) and service dealt admirably with our large and raucous gang. Personally, I look forward to trying another incarnation of the Brazilian barbecue elsewhere in the hope that the skewered meat is a juicy as it should be and I can scoff to my heart's content (and probably its ultimate downfall).
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