Just as well you didn’t make it to Brazil for the World Cup. Get a bite of the action anyway with this lot
Barraco Café, Kilburn High Road
There aren’t many reasons to visit Kilburn High Road (sorry Kilburn High Road) but the Barraco Café, hidden down a lane off the main strip, is definitely one of them. Next door to the Casa Latino Americana, a charity that provides space and support for Latin Americans, Spanish and Portuguese speakers, this is Kilburn’s very own corner of South America. And wonderful it is too. You’ll find the dreamy feijoada – Brazil’s national dish of a rich, dark pork and bean stew – alongside meat croquettes, salt beef and chicken hearts and plenty more. Don’t expect to find linen tablecloths and crystal glasses, though. This is a boteco bar – Brazil’s equivalent of your local pub. Think cheap and very cheerful cafe. Oh, and naturally, they’re showing the World Cup.
Galpao, Kensal Green
Staying up north, we have the equally tiny Galpao in Kensal Green. Voted Brazilian Restaurant of the Year 2012, this Brazilian bar and kitchen is favourite of LondonlovesBusiness.com editor Sophie Hobson who loves it for its “super-friendly staff, grilled chicken hearts and massive portions of feijoada”. Again, it’s more like a small cafe than a smart restaurant, and it’s full of the kind of colour and relaxed attitude of Rio. You’ll find most people inside speaking Portuguese, so you may want to brush up your skills before you go, or, alternatively, drink enough of their imported Brazilian beer (Brahma, Palma Louca, Amazon Bacuri) that you’ll think you’re speaking Portuguese when actually you’re, well, slurring.
Cabana, Upper Street and others
Founded by Brazilophiles Jamie Barber and David Ponte, there are now five Cabanas in London – in Islington, Wembley, Westfield, Westfield Stratford and Covent Garden – and the restaurant chain boasts its very own TV channel too. Popular among families and large groups, you’ll pay a little more for your meals here and get a more westernised (commercial) Brazil experience.
Head to where the cool kids are and get yourself down to Floripa on Great Eastern Street in the heart of Shoreditch. This recently opened bar and restaurant used to be Favela Chic – a stalwart of East London’s (poppy) clubbing scene – but is now a grown-up venue serving what it describes as “remixed” Brazilian cuisine. Not one to mince its words, the flamboyant eateries describes itself thus: “Floripa mixes all convivialities – we are a Brazilian influenced restaurant, a bar for the globe, a London bloc party club, an Ipanema-inspired colonial bordello, an idyllic sunset circus and indeed none of the above.” Right.
Imagine if you could eat sushi and Brazilian, together? It’s not as strange as it sounds (as Sushisamba is successfully proving). And Brazil is home to the largest number of people of Japanese descent outside Japan. Now London has Yoobi, a ‘temakeria’. Started by Carolina Rodrigues and Nicolas Steiner, a temakeria “takes inspiration from Brazil and pushes the sushi experience in an exciting new direction” (which we think sounds rather great). It’s all eat-with-your-hands type stuff at very wallet-friendly prices – such as the traditional Brazilian chocolate caramel ‘brigadeiro’ at £2. We’ll see you there…
Readers choice: Prima Donna, Brixton Village
If you’ve turned up to Brixton Village on a nice evening looking for somewhere to eat, no doubt you’ll have tried (and probably failed) to get into this place. Thanks to its fantastic location on the corner of the market (it has an indoor area and an outdoor area), rave reviews and homely unpretentious feel, Prima Donna is one of the Village’s most popular restaurants. Order from their great value pre fixe menu, and be sure to try the chargrilled chorizon.