BOM DIA! Bang the drums, put on some Sergio Mendes and do the samba because newly opened Cabana has brought brilliant Brazilian street food to Southampton.
With the unique decor directly imported from Brazil, and street dishes from Sao Paolo to Salvador, Cabana brings a passion and vibrance to the new phase of WestQuay.
It’s the story of Cabana combined with the delicious food and authentic cocktails that really gives this restaurant an edge on it’s competitors. The whole place transports you to Brazil for a couple of hours, until you have to head out of the door back to the UK and winter!
David Ponté and Jamie Barber came together in 2011 after many successful ventures apart. The duo’s aim is to bring the best Brazilian street food to the UK for a more social dining experience.
Jamie’s a seasoned restauranteur who’s been responsible for Hush, Kitchen Italia, Villandry and Sake No Hana. David who was born in Rio de Janeiro and spent lots of time out in Brazil despite being raised in England. He has been involved in several restaurants and bars and was invited to be a consultant at Selfridges for their Brazilian festival in 2004.
It’s this background that has infused the team with a real passion and love for Brazilian street food.
Greeted by the marketing manager Lizzy (sister to Jamie Barber) and David Ponté, it was very much a personal approach to the blogger event I attended. And thank goodness, it was so refreshing, they are so invested in making sure that people enjoyed the experience and food.
Their enthusiasm immediately struck me as they told the stories behind the restaurant and why they’ve chosen the dishes. Much time has been spent in Brazil tracking down authentic food that they can bring back to the UK. Many of the dishes have special names like the Biro-Biro rice, a special rice dish topped with crispy shallots named after the famous footballer who loved it.
This experience at Cabana was brilliant and very different in comparison to other events I’ve been invited to. I’ve had a good time at other restaurant events, but they’ve definitely lacked the personal approach. The evening was well planned with a meet and greet, cocktail masterclass and full dinner with the team.
During the caipirinha masterclass we all got to try neat cachaça (an experience in itself!) and make our own thanks to guidance from the wonderful bartenders Darius and Pedro. They ran a little competition to see who could make the best one!
Afterwards we all sat down to eat together and were guided through the menu as we ate. I felt like I learnt so much about Cabana in a very short space of time. It weirdly felt like I was dining with old friends, I think that was the point though, it’s about the experience as well as the food.
Between courses everyone was invited to make wishes by tying three knots in traditional Brazilian wish ribbons. Once the bracelet falls off your wishes are meant to come true and you’re meant to dispose of them in flowing water (I’m not sure why – if you know, please post in the comments!). They import these from the famous Bahia church in Brazil that makes them, so we can take part in a small Brazilian tradition and making wishes in the UK.
There was so much food, so I’ve selected some to show you in my remaining images. It was all delicious but the chargrilled halloumi with guava dip really stood out, the flavours together, although odd, were delicious!
I also really loved the seasoned Cabana steak, the spicy chicken, cassava fries (Yucca plant, if you watch Bear Grylls The Island!), cheesy dough balls (move over Pizza Express – these are something else!) and the pineapple rice. Ok, I could go on, the menu was so tasty, but I’ll leave it there for now!
The pineapple rice is brand new to the menu and is a hollowed out pineapple half filled with flavoured rice and topped with a skewer of tasty chicken – it’s seriously impressive and yummy. It tastes so fresh and it really compliments and balances the flavour of the barbecued meats.
There’s much more I’d like to try like the coconut slaw, guava-cue ribs and coconut curries. The menu is jam-packed full of mouth-watering temptations so I know I’m going to head back real soon.
The whole team made me feel so welcome and the experience was one of the best I’ve had since I’ve started blogging. To top things off they provided pudding, hot nutella filled doughnut balls and gifted everyone with their Carnival cookbook and some sauces so we can carry on the Rio street food vibes at home. Amazing and so thoughtful.
If you want to make a booking head over to cabana-brasil.com for more details.
Thank you to the whole team at Cabana, especially David, Lizzie, Darius and Pedro, for a fantastic evening!
More pictures from Cabana are below…