Carioca – for breakfast

Carioca01

address: 25-27 Market Row, Brixton

Tel: 020 7095 0953

http://cariocabrixton.com/

This is becoming a regular thing – out for breakfast or early lunch and we have noticed many people not just wanting toast and coffee but needing something more substantial. So wandering into the Market is not recommended. If you definitely want to eat soon and there are more than two of you, bCarioca02ook in advance (or as we did on the walk down to Brixton.).

Carioca is a Brazilian restaurant and we have previously reviewed it here. You can still order your traditional British but explore a little and have the corn muffin or the carnival breakfast with spicy pineapple, plantain and fried bell peppers as a feast for the eyes. We still haven’t tried all the options and next time when I am not watching the waistline or my 5 a day, I’ll definitely have the “Favela Da Rossa” with ripe plantain sandwiched with mozzarella, then dipped in batter and fried. If that wasn’t enough you also get fresh tomato, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. So vegetarian and meat eaters can blow-out here.

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Cabana

Cabana01address: Bon Marche Centre, 201 – 207 Ferndale Rd, London SW9 8BQ

Phone:020 7326 5760

email: brixton@cabana-brasil.com

website: http://cabana-brasil.com/restaurants/brixton/

The idea was that we wouldn’t review chain restaurants but as they creep into Brixton and as it was a Monday, which reduces the choice of where to go, we broke our own rules. We were glad we did as Cabana was a pleasant surprise. It describes itself as a Brasilian Barbecue and if you want meat they have a lot of it. This is a huge (for Brixton) restaurant with loads of room and comfortable seats. There is a capirinha bar on the floor below but we chose to eat.

We were in a threesome, which meant we could try things across the menu. There are small things to eat while you wait for your food and from that list we chose Guaca-Molho – guacamole with lots of corn chips. The chips were endless and were not too salty and didn’t taste of sprayed on flavours, so we enjoyed them a lot. But we could have chosen fiery pork scratchings, parmesan with honey or chargrilled pitta. We skipped the starters section (still thinking about weight reduction following Christmas) and went straight to the mains. Think meat – chicken, pork, beef or lamb in all forms – burgers, stews, steaks, on or off the bone.

We chose spicy Malagueta Chicken, Feijoada (beef, pork and bean stew) and a Steak and Palmito (palm hearts). Sides of rice and peas, sweet potato chips and “homeslaw” were a good portion size. We enjoyed them all, especially the rice which was really well flavoured. Seasoning was personalised to each of our tastes and if you want it hotter there was a choice of bottled sauces on the table to increase the heat. We were delighted with the chicken and the steak, although we have had better feijoada. It probably needed a bit more time in the microwave, as it was a bit chilly in parts. The chicken was served in an authentic fashion, from the spit on which they had been barbecued.

We washed this all down with water and a couple of two-for-one capirinhas that are served until 7:00 pm. They weren’t the best capirinhas we’ve had, not at all like those we had in Sao Paulo, but not bad at half price.

We want to thank the enthusiastic and helpful staff who not only were thoughtful about the service but wrapped up the leftovers for a lovely lunch the next day. The whole thing came to £61.25. Apologies for the lack of photographs but the lighting was subtle, so they didn’t come out too well.

Carioca

carioca01

address:   25-27 Market Row, Brixton,  SW9 8LD

http://www.primadonnabrixton.co.uk

This is formally Prima Donna and has now become definitely authentic Brazilian so it now has a USP (unique selling point).  It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and not much has changed except the menu since its earlier incarnation. There are a few tables inside and they are not crowded together so you can hear yourself think above the music – much more Brazilian than previously. There are also tables in the market corridor.

Breakfast is a full English or with a twist (smoked iberico pancetta, free-range scrambled eggs & baked tomato slices on ciabatta – showing multiple influences again as iberico is from Spain and pancetta from Italy). You can be very conservative with the hamburger made with Brazilian beef (seems a long way to go for that ingredient). But we arrived in the evening – 7.00pm to miss the crowds. There is a fixed price two course menu and we chose from that one as it had all the interest we needed. It also did offer an excessive choice, which is something we are both wary . For starters there were – spicy chicken wings. braised beef empanadas, beetroot and blue cheese salad and Pao de queijo with choizo (a sort of cheese roll usually made with cassava flour but we didn’t try this one). The main course were Feijoada described as Brazil’s national dish. A stew made from black beans cooked with an assortment of meat (chorizo, pork ribs, beef and pork); Chicken Caipira – braised chicken; Arepa, which is a flatbread made of maize filled (or they say stuffed) with pulled beef and vegetables; and finally Courgette, Potato and Leek Frittata, which is an explanation in itself. THe main menu also has more grilled items like spare ribs and steak and cassava chips. Continue reading

Brazas

Address: 45 Tulse Hill, Brixton, London,  SW2 2TJ
Telephone: 020 8678 0697

http://www.brazas.co.uk/

This “authentic Portuguese cuisine in the heart of South London” is a Brixton staple. It is not in Brixton Village but nearly opposite the large Sainsbury’s on Tulse Hill. We’ve reviewed it before but the people who ran it previously have  moved on to Prima Donna in Market Row. However, the food on offer is basically unchanged.

It has an unprepossessing exterior and at first glance the interior looks like a local cafe. But venture further into its Tardis-like interior and you will find a proper restaurant at the back and, like the Tardis, it is much bigger than it seems as the restaurant area runs across two buildings. Tables are plain, have a couple of red flowers and a candle. Picasso styled paintings adorn some walls. None of this provides a warm interior and it was so chilly that we kept our coats on.

 

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Prima Donna

address:   25-27 Market Row, Brixton,  SW9 8LD

http://www.primadonnabrixton.co.uk

I never wanted to start a review with the sentence ‘The problem with this restaurant is…’ but I don’t feel creative enough to say it another way. So … the problem with this restaurant is its USP (unique selling point). It has an Italian name, a Portuguese/Brazilian style of food at dinner and it plays music from Radio 1. Described as an cafe/restaurant the breakfast menu looks English yet lunch seems to be more Brazilian. I quite like novelty but this is so eclectic that may be difficult for passers by to understand (and be drawn to) its open doors. This is a shame as it probably deserves encouragement.

This is a new restaurant in Market Row rather than in Brixton Village and it builds a new epicurean alleyway particularly as the Village is getting fuller and fuller and hard for the casual visitor to be sure of getting fed. Small tables (for two) are inside and outside. Its white walls have little adornment (well there isn’t much wall in there) and across the back wall is the kitchen.

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Brick Box

address: Brixton Village, Brixton SW9 8PS

telephone: 020 727-4221

email: hello@thebrickbox.co.uk

http://www.thebrickbox.co.uk/brixton.html

Brick Box, in the heart of Brixton Village, describes itself with some hyperbole as a place for art, love and magic. We were not totally convinced; however, it does serve food, so of course we had to review it. With the usual wooden tables and mismatched chairs, it squeezes in tables at angles in the small internal space and outside in the alleyway so it has much seating. It is extremely popular so at 6.45 on a Friday the outside tables were full and we were lucky to even get an inside table. This was in comparison to other restaurants which were relatively empty at that time. One explanation fir this might be the happy hour which starts at 5pm.

The venue says it provides for a number of events including screenings, live art (?) and theatre which will be a bit of a coup given the size of the place. Most events seem actually to happen in their Tooting site although the walls are covered with art.

This community arts group have partnered with Senzala in Brixton to provide the food- a  range of sweet and savoury crepes and galettes – and of course a fully licensed bar which seemed to be attracting the most custom. We ordered a Caprinha and a lemon daiquiri to get us into the spirit  and, sorry but they were both a bit of a disappointment. They were more like alcopops rather than cocktails so we wished we had chosen the wine.

The menu comes in two section – the savoury and the sweet crepes. There is some allergy advice on the menu and you can get a wheat, gluten, lactose and egg free gallette which is what we chose. We ordered the Senzala and the Caramelised goat. These were very similar – rocket and cheese (gorgonzola or goat’s cheese), caramelised red onions and mixed herbs with the addition of sun dried tomatoes in the Senzala. They were plump and the gallette was thin and crispy but stuck together enough to allow you to get all the bits into your mouth at the same time. We enjoyed them but we want to point out that if you highlight the caramelised red onions on the menu then they do need to be caramelised and not just a bit sweet and limp.

Service was fast for ordering and helpful  – pointing out that we should try the homemade chili sauce as we would never have noticed it in the sugar container. A little of it went a long way – but it does add spice to the cheesy mix. We were surprised at how much better the galettes were on this occasion from a previous visit when we had the Spaniard which was a bit limp with too little filling. We didn’t repeat the choice so we can’t verify a change in this one.

We didn’t have a sweet crepe but they looked more variable with mixtures of the following ingredients – bananas, nuts, Belgian chocolate (white, milk or dark), rum, coconut, nutella and maple syrup. We just went to Lab G for an ice cream – two pancakes in the same meal definitely seemed one too many.

Our bill was £21.00 for two including the drinks and they do provide tap water on the table. Wine is about £15.00 and cocktails around £6.00

We might go back next time for a cup of tea and a sweet pancake which would make a change from the cupcake offerings in most of the other tea shops in Brixton Village.

Brazas

Address: 45 Tulse Hill, Brixton, London,  SW2 2TJ
Telephone: 020 8678 0697

http://www.brazas.co.uk/

This is a SouthAmerican restaurant with a very unprepossessing exterior and the interior at first glance looks like a local cafe. But venture further inside and there is a restaurant at the back which is such a surprise. similar to the Tardis it is much bigger than at first glance as the restaurant area runs across two buildings. Argentina is about meat, chargrilled. We chose piri piri chicken and a speciality of Argentina – a stew that had ingredients that no-one now remembers but they did sound exotic.

Booking is necessary unless you are there early as it gets very full. We had a main course and then took advantage of the fantasic range of cakes as a takeaway for later. There is a really good selection of cheesecake with imaginative toppings and no-one should pass without taking something home for later.

Wine list looked ok – we were on a no alcohol until the weekend so didn’t try it. The menu isn’t cheap but it isn’t outrageous either.