The look and location of this new Brazilian café – a glorified wooden shed nestled almost underneath Harringay Green Lanes station – are deceptively grungy.
Inside, Fogo Vivo is like a breezy Brazilian beach hut: tidy with pale-wood floors, a cheery bar stand and the sound of bossa nova.
On the weeknight we visited the place, we were the only customers for a while. However, the hospitable owner mentioned that Fogo gets packed with local Brazilians on Fridays and Saturdays, especially when a projector screen gets pulled down and an £8.90 eat-as-much-as-you-like buffet is on offer.
The café dishes out just a handful of Brazilian staples plus some gorgeous caipirinhas (not the watered-down versions found in many places in London), and at £3.50 they are a bargain. Plates are piled high with a mix of beans, meat and an authentically Brazilian offer of both rice and chips.
Our picanha (a cut of rump) of matured beef was tender and smoky from the grill, chips were extra crisp and salad was fresh – and other than the iceberg variety.
Parmegiana of beef, coated in breadcrumbs and topped with cheese and tomatoes, wasn’t the best dish, but the matchstick chips served with it were fun.
Ask for the hot molho de pimenta malagueta sauce – even a finger dab will make your eyes water. Own-made doce de leite (the Portuguese version of the milk caramel dessert made of condensed milk and served in slices) was properly wobbly.
Fogo Vivo adds some welcome South American flavour to the predominantly Mediterranean mix in Green Lanes.