Carne Cabana (Brazilian) – Bethnal Green
Halal Brazilian steakhouses are certainly a rarity in London, particulalry the Rodizio (all you can eat) style of restaurant service that’s so very common over in the Federative Republic. The only other restaurant we know of, and reviewed, is Earlsfield’s Nabrasa in the south west of the Capital. We were, therefore, excited by news of the opening of Carne Cabana in East London’s Bethnal Green.
What makes these two Rodizios an attractive alternative to the traditional restaurant routine we’re all accustomed to, is the enjoyable interaction that’s played out between the diner and the Passadore – the meat waiter who, upon request, comes round to the table with a knife and skewer speared with either a single selection or variety of meats, ready to serve upon request.
However, while Nabrasa uses a card system to alert theirs, Carne Cabana has opted for a more technology-based method by making use of what the owner dubbed the “Meat Button” – a button affixed to the middle of a table which, when pressed, turns on a luminous green light underneath to alert the roaming Passadores of a top up.
Additionally, not only are native chefs employed to ensure a truly authentic Brazilian dining experience, but this HMC-certified eatery also declares itself as being a Churrascaria restaurant – one where the meat is cooked in a particular style using a barbecue grill called a churrasqueira, which in this is custom-made. Apparently, what makes this grill unique is the control it provides in the cooking of the skewered meat with one end being far more cooked, and thus more charred, than the other, thereby offering diners a choice in how well done they prefer their cuts.
While wood largely makes up for the interior design, including patterned wall panels, dining tables, and these cool saloon-style swinging doors that lead into the basement kitchen, you’ll also find grey suede cushioned-seating downstairs which, though comfortable, doesn’t entirely go with the overall wooden theme, as well as a large eye-catching wall mural of South America’s famous Iguazu Falls that forms the boundary between Argentina and Brazil.
Far too milky for our collective liking.
Pity, since the flavours came through fairly well.
Further, it doesn’t help that the syrup is allowed to sit at the bottom of the cup without being properly stirred and amalgamated before being served.
Not the best of starts!
As you can see, there were a lot of sides to get through; so let’s break them down as follows:
A superb Black Bean Stew!
Smooth and rich in flavour and spice, this lental-like thick soup was very well cooked and extremely comforting.
Definitely recommend this one!
The menu sells this stew as having “tender cuts of beef”. To the contrary, we were served a dish that not only offered meat far tougher than it should have been, but also a broth that was extremely watery and, thus, lacked the true depth of flavour of a bona fide stew.
If this is the way its served by default, then we’d recommend the vegetable-based Cabana Rice (below) to go with it.
This vegetable-based rice dish was simple, well cooked and fairly flavourful.
It would go well with the Carne Ao Molho, above.
What we had here was a simple yet satisyfing bowl of chicken and aromatic rice.
With a subtle heat to it, the meat was nice and soft, and the rice well cooked.
Nothing wrong with these Banana Friters at all.
Precisely as they should be with a golden, light crispy exterior that’s perfectly complemented by a soft and almost caramelised banana-based interior.
If you’re seeking something different, these wouldn’t be a bad option.
These Coxinha De Frango, literally “chicken drumstick” (given their shape), were a tale of halves.
While the outside was, again, nice and crispy, the subtly flavoured chicken fillingm however, just seemed to us (admittedly no experts of Brazilian cuisine) to be a little too mushy resulting in an uninspiring gloopy, almost sticky-like, mouthful. Although these can be traditionally made up of shredded chicken, this version, we felt, would have been far better had the chicken been left with some bite to speak of.
In addition, the garlic mayo was certainly far too strong for something so delicately spiced.
While one Lion considered this coleslaw to be one of the stand out sides, the other two weren’t impressed by the ratio of the beetroot in comparison to the rest of the ingredients.
Hence, not only was it far too vinegary, but also far too creamy, hence, lacking any real bite given how finely chopped everything was.
The mince in this dish had a really good spicy kick to it owing to the Pimenta chilli.
However, the chips were a let down. For one, they were far too oily and, thus, soft in texture. And secondly, some of them were clearly underdone.
This Creamy Mash wasn’t as creamy and as buttery as it should have been.
Granted it was freshly made, but what was disappointing here was all the lumpy bits therein.
Room for improvement for sure!
The Carne Cabana rodizio includes 3 sides all of which costs:
- Adults £21.95
- Kids (under-12) £9.95
- Kids (under-3) free
With extra sides for £2.95 each, and the option of upgrading your drink to a shake for an additional £2.00.
Our Passadore couldn’t quite keep that skewer as steady as we would have liked when this pic was taken. Nonetheless, this lamb, despite being slightly tough, particularly the pieces that were well done, had the most deliciously crunchy and salty crust with a great tasting marinade.
We all know what the rump of beef is, but what’s a “cap of rump”, we hear you ask? Well, the cap is that portion which sits on top of the ‘heart’ of the rump; and it’s a delicacy in Brazil known as the ‘Picanha’. What makes this different to the rump is that it’s richer in fat.
Granted it’s slightly on the chewy side, but not in a bad way because the meat itself is ultra-juicy with a scrumptious sweet undertone, and that delicately salted crunchy crust.
Again note, however, that the cuts at the bottom of the skewer are far more tender than the top ones, which were fairly tough.
The garlic marination was certainly subtle. In fact, so subtle that it was barely discernable.
What’s more, if this is had as anything but medium, the beef will certainly be chewy in nature, as these were.
Sadly, as much as we would have wanted, this Indian chilli marination just didn’t work.
For one, the masala marination was left raw in places, particularly on cuts cooked medium, which culminated in what we can only describe as a “taste-kill” – a harsh and unpleasant acrid taste that immediately had us reaching for our glasses of water.
Having said that though, the next serving we had was arguably one of the best experiences of boneless chicken we’ve had.
These absolutely tender pieces of lightly spiced chicken cubes were as close to melt-in-the-mouth chicken as you could possibly get.
As a matter of fact, we were torn between which cuts were better: the medium cooked or those with the nicely charred, barbecued exterior.
Recommended all the way!
And, as the image above proves, these pieces of rump, especially the medium cooked, were undeniably soft, succulent and beautifully crispy on the outside.
Certainly more tender and less chewier than their cap counterpart, this should be had medium all the way.
As one Lion put it, “A masala overdose!”
Although the masala here was better cooked than the beef cutlets above, it was still far too overpowering, which was a pity because the chicken was really nicely cooked with charred skin that delivered a really good textural contrast.
These won’t be setting the earth on fire, but the BBQ marination on these perfectly cooked wings was good.
It was sticky and plentiful and satisfying.
Arguably the best cuts of the evening, hah!
These grilled pineapples were beautifully caramelised on the outside while being sweet and juicy all the way through.
An excellent palate cleanser of sorts.
(Note to self: use pineapple for FtL’s next BBQ)
All desserts are £3.95 each.
Interesting this Soft Chocolate Mousse Cake. The cake itself was semi-firm in texture as opposed to “soft”, and was mildly chocolatey in taste. It won’t knock you off your feet; but, still a pleasant finale nonetheless.
The chocolate ice cream was again subtle, but smooth and well made.
Again, the texture of this “pudding” was firmer – almost panna cotta like – than the above. The caramel sauce was, however, distinct in flavour, as was the caramel ice cream which was refreshingly strong.
We’d recommend this over the above.
Although the consistency of this dessert was closer to that of a mousse than its chocolate cousin, and while the passion fruit came through really nicely, there was a strong and bitter aftertaste left on the palate. Simple in its make up, yet perfect if you’re looking for something light to finish off proceedings.
- CHILD SEATING
It's clear that a lot of thought and attention has been invested into its preparation and management to the point that even the waiters have been equipped with communication devices for efficiently liaising with their kitchen staff.
What's more, unlike their closest Halal rival, Nabrasa which provides a buffet of sides to choose from, here they are brought out freshly prepared.
We've been told that Mocktails (£4.95) and Brazilian-sourced coffee will also be introduced to the menu soon - the latter as soon as it's properly and reliably sourced.
Be the first to leave a review.