This Portuguese café in Covent Garden recently reopened, having expanded with a new second entrance onto Shorts Gardens. The look has been refined: teal blue wooden panelling around the walls, old wireless radios fastened to one wall, and a more discreet servery. It's fully table service, with 10% added even if you're just popping in for a coffee.
Canela clearly has aspirations and has moved towards the prevailing trend of small plates menu paired with a wine bar vibe. The mainly Portuguese wine list is interesting with plenty of choice, while the food menu remains a mix of Portuguese and Brazilian.
We've been eating here for years, and much the same observation holds true before the refurb, and after: it's a nice place, but pricey for what you get. Simple, peasant-style home cooking, such as a dish of bacalhau (salt cod) with potatoes and eggs, is cheekily priced at £15 for a small 'mai'n portion size – especially when there were still small fishbones in parts of the dish. And with the small plates costing upwards of £7 each, this is not the place to come for bargain Portuguese or Brazilian meal.
However, the service is engaging and the atmosphere pleasant, making this a good spot to pop into for a glass of wine and snack when you're in Covent Garden.