Cattivo Hall

207 Ferndale Road

020 096 2236

Website: https://www.cattivobar.com/

Email: bookings@cattivobar.com

Monday: Closed
Tues-Thurs: 12 noon to 12 midnight
Fri-Sat: 12 noon to 2am
Sun: 12 noon to 11pm

We usually give a new restaurant a few visits before reviewing, but this place caught our eye on a cold Friday night. They were in their “soft launch” phase – the whole kit and caboodle will be open tomorrow (Tuesday 16th October), when it will have a longer menu including desserts. It is part of the same chain as Canova Hall (link, link and link), which is just across the road. This is a restaurant and bar also but takes a slightly different approach to decor. Gone are the cosy banquettes and the French Bistro feel, but what is left is the same industrial style, with lots of room for standing and drinking. Downstairs (and yet to be explored) is a cocktail bar with its own Gin distillery.

But we visited for the food, although by way of a cocktail and glass of wine. Food on the menu was hearty, and with large proportions it will certainly line your stomach for the Friday night revelries and probably divert any potential hangover. Menus online seem to be more extensive, with some sharing plates.

The foreshortened menu consisted of spaghetti and meatballs (beef, spicy pork and ricotta), a vegan dish and some fried items including potatoes, squash, peas, parmesan fries and focaccia. We settled for spicy pork and ricotta meatballs, and although we thought about ordering a side dish, we were glad we hadn’t when we saw the size of the plates of pasta.

The spicy pork was spicy but not overpowering with some chili in the tomato sauce too. We missed the promised gremolata but liked the taste of the sicilian sausage.

The ricotta meatballs were much softer than the beef but equally tasty. We  missed the gremolata again and wondered what the ricotta salata was (advertised on the menu). We did have cheese and they didn’t offer any extra Parmesan. But I don’t think either of us minded.

We washed all this down with water and a glass of Primitivo and a Professore cocktail (Del Professore Madame gin, Kamm & Sons aperitif, Campari) – so a sort of Negroni with a large ice cube and we were glad to see the absence of a straw. A clever engineering touch was the shaved orange peel jammed into the side of the ice cube thus successfully preventing it from freezing your top lip during drinking. We would like to congratulate the barman (or woman) who invented this – patent it now.

We paid £42 including the drinks which were almost half the bill. We have another booking for Friday to try some of the other specialties on offer.

 

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.