This is the second branch of Cabana, the first opening only weeks ago in Westfield Stratford City. Both of them look like a shopping-mall restaurants, but are quirkily and attractively decorated in bright colours, and are refreshingly different to the usual pizza-pasta chains.
The theory is that a constant stream of skewers of freshly cooked meats circulate the room, from which you take your pick. But on our visit it was a quiet night, so many of the advertised skewers failed to appear. Our chimichurri rump steak was a little dry and overcooked; in contrast, a rack of lamb was succulent and spicy. At Cabana you pay only for the dishes you order (it’s not all you can eat, like many restaurants of this sort), so choose carefully.
Pastels (pastries) are a deep-fried fast food served well-stuffed in Brazil, but the version here was a disappointingly near-hollow shell with hardly any cheese. Moist chicken croquettes and a hearty black bean soup were better.
We’re told the chef here is Brazilian, but the multinational service staff knew virtually nothing about the variety of cachaça sold from the bar. If you play safe and order beer instead even the cheapest lager on tap costs £2.95 for a small glass.
Cabana is not without its merits. The staff were upbeat, the room good- looking, the music suitably up-tempo. But if you’re after a more authentically Brazilian experience, look elsewhere.