Cabana (Brasilian) – Westfield White CityHALAL STATUS Halal options • Alcohol & pork served
Cabana Brasilian Barbecue outside White City’s Westfield mega shopping centre in west London declares itself the “Home of the Mighty Malagueta Chilli”.
Now, a Malagueta Chilli is actually a hot pepper that’s said to be:
[W]idely used in Brazil, Portugal, and Mozambique but also used throughout the Caribbean, specially its Spanish speaking countries. It is heavily used in the Bahia state of Brazil. It apparently gets its name from the unrelated melegueta pepper from West Africa.
And given the pepper’s distinctive red colour, Cabana has gone for shades of reds, yellows and oranges as a colour scheme for their busy interior decor. With low hanging light bulbs and large colourful kites suspended from a high ceiling, the warm lighting creates a cosy, relaxed atmosphere that makes you feel welcome.
With a seating capacity of 166, this spacious restaurant offers seating both in and outside. All chicken served here is halal. And though pork is also available on the menu, Cabana enforces a strict practice of cooking both meats separately on a 3-tier grill.
Both the manager and head chef have told us that the chicken is given pride of place on the top two tiers, with the bottom being reserved for the pork, thereby ensuring zero cross-contamination.
The well crushed ice and frothy top couldn’t quite disguise the fact that this Cool Colada lacked that punch you’d expect from such a pineapple drink.
As for the semi-thick smoothie, then while the subtle sweetness of the strawberries was just about discernible, the most important thing with this, of course, was the Açaí berry – a so-called superfood that’s rich in antioxidants – which gave this its distinct purple-red colour.
Close your eyes and knock it back for the health benefits.
Crispy squids indeed and quite nice too!
These slightly chewy, succulent squids were fried in an ultra crispy, strongly salted batter with a hint of herb, that was wonderfully countered by the sweet, mildly chilli malagueta mayo.
Now these Spicy Malagueta Prawns were superb!
Perfectly cooked and delivered a deep flavour with the heat of the chilli coming through soon after.
In addition to the above, the Malagueto Mayo is creamy and sweet, yet mildly chilli.
The Tamarind Ketchup was delicious. Sweet with a hint of tamarind.
And the Chimichurri was just as good. Fresh bits of mint with a lovely light bitter aftertaste.
As to the Malagueta Oil, then it had a strong, pungent taste to it with a hit of chilli that caught up with you a little later.
But a special mention has to be made of the Malagueta Sauce.
This easily rivals and, in our collective opinion, surpasses any of the sauces available at the popular chicken franchise, Nandos.
This incredible sauce had a fruity undertone to it with the heat of the chilli kicking in and lingering a while thereafter.
These well cooked chicken wings, lightly marinated in Malagueta sauce, didn’t quite deliver on the spice, but, nevertheless, had a hint of sweetness to it and a lovely crispy, char grilled exterior.
The succulent fillets of chicken were crispy on the outside, and smothered in this marvellously fruity-chilli Malagueta mayo sauce that was perfectly tempered by a large creamy dollop of avocado.
Similarly, we were all very impressed by the crunchy sweet potato fries. These were thin and beautifully rustic in nature and were, quite frankly, some of the best sweet potato fries we’ve had.
Unfortunately, there’s not a happy ending to this one because the coleslaw was terrible! Bland with hardly any dressing prompted one Lion to describe it as looking “stale”! Not sure why the marinade’s dubbed a ‘secret’ since it’s conspicuously Malagueta based!
Whatever the case, this particular dish was quite something actually. The chicken was as soft and as succulent as you’d like chicken to be. Coated in a thick, chilli glaze, it went wonderfully with those soft, sweet red peppers.
However, be sure to add that in-house Malagueta chilli mentioned above since it’ll give the entire dish an extra layer of deliciousness.
Though the steak was mostly cooked medium, it was, as you can see from the cross section pic above, medium rare in places. And since this is a rib-eye, you invariably encounter, as we did, a small amount of unrendered fatty bits.
The Rio Beans were also a nice supplement. Soft, subtly spiced, with lots of sauce, these, we felt, brought the dish together as a whole.
Meanwhile, the Cassava Chips were, as you’d hope, crispy on the outside and soft on the in.
Had altogether, the plate was a pleasant enough eat, but nothing to seriously rave about.
In reality, however, we barely managed two given how sickly sweet soft, sugary doughnuts with a Nutella filling, dipped in even more thick chocolate sauce, was.
Also, being forced to wait for the boiling hot Nutella filling to cool down sufficiently before diving in didn’t help matters either since by that time, the doughnuts had sweated enough to lose any semblance of a crispy exterior so distinct of freshly fried doughnuts.
This Brasilian Overload was one of the highlights of our visit.
A taste overload of epic proportions particularly with that first bite of which we’d recommend a very big mouthful with loads of those incredible Brigadeiro truffles.
This sundae was made up of this incredible white chocolate and caramel choc chip ice cream, which could have been overly sweet if it wasn’t for those fantastically chewy, yes chewy, bitter truffles, and the dark bits of choc found in said ice cream, that harmonised the whole dessert.
In our view: 10/10!
The Cabana Cheesecake had some nice flavours going for it with the soft, subtly flavoured caramel cheese being complemented well, both texturally and flavourly, by the crunchy roasted almonds.
We didn’t pick up any banana, but were pleasantly surprised by how crumbly the biscuit base was.
- YES/ YES
- BABY SEATS
There were a number of dishes we had that were very impressive with others hovering between pretty good and average. We were also impressed by their attention to detail when it came to their starters and mains, which were served on warm plates.
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Westfield White City, Upper Southern Terrace, Ariel Way, W12 7GB.
Opening Hours: Sun-Thurs 12:00-22:00 | Fri-Sat 12:00-23:00
Other branches: Brixton, Cabana at the O2, Covent Garden, Islington, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Wembley, Westfield – Stratford, Westfield – White City.