So, I went to Brixton as I had a gig at the O2 Academy. As expected, the Nandos across the road was packed to the brim with a long waiting time. I guess I originally opted for Nandos as I am unfamiliar with the area and Nandos is simplistic and pretty much samey wherever you go to one.
We were hungry, so had to seek out another place so we went for a stroll down Brixton and happened upon Cabana on a side street. It was a Saturday, so again we expected it to be busy. The welcome was confused and non-committal. Whilst there were many tables booked (but currently empty), we were kind of told we could sit down in the basement on bar side. It was almost as if he preferred that the answer would have been for us to say no. Once we sat down, I got it. The staffing was on the slim side (i.e. hardly any) and looking around, you could see customers faces glazed over as they looked around the room to try and garner some attention from the stressed out odd waiter/ress who had the unfortunate task of being in the area.
Our waiter who finally came over, whilst really sweet, hadn’t a clue what was going on. He took our orders which had to be repeated several times as he was distracted, looking at the bar service area with drinks piling up and trying to secure the pre-booked tables, as strays walked in and sat down at them. Finally, he managed to get to the till and put in our order.
We watched the bartender make our drinks, which was basically putting taking two wine glasses and opening a bottle of white wine to put on the bar service area. Then we watched as the wine stood there for 17 minutes. When we finally received the wine, the food arrived near after. My spicy malagueta chicken was not spicy. It was in fact cold and drowned in some really sickly sweet bbq sauce type thing. The chicken was rubbery. The chips were cold. My companion’s Super Sambawich with steak had seen better days. Whilst it all looked pretty, the taste told a different story. We had the calamari as a starter, but I have purposely moved on from that as I am sure you can work out what my thoughts are on that.
This was a hugely dissapointing episode. I know Brazilian food and it is not like this. In fact, this gives Brazilian food a bad name.
The Cabana website suggests a vibrant, fun and happy place with a carnival vibe. Cabana Brixton obviously did not get the memo. This really highlights why so many people are against chains. Once you roll these places out all over the place, the folk at the top lose their reign on standards and quality.
201 – 207 Ferndale Road
T. 020 6326 5760