A taste of Rio’s street food with Cabana

A couple of weeks ago, I was kindly invited to try some food samples from the new menu at Cabana with Southampton Bloggers*. Here’s what I thought of my experience…

I met up with Emma just before we were due to arrive so that we could turn up together. As we were early, we decided to wait outside for everyone else to turn up but we didn’t have to wait long as both Emily and Amy turned up within a couple of minutes of us arriving. Rather than the four of us wait outside, we decided to head on in to be seated at our table. Once we sat down, everyone else started arriving rather promptly. 

Once we were all seated, it was time to start looking at the menus. Cabana told us that we were each able to sample three courses (starter, main, dessert) and have two drinks of our choice, which did include the alcohol selection.

I can confirm that it was a tough decision trying to decide what to eat as everything sounded so delicious. It didn’t help that I had never been to Cabana before to have some kind of idea as to what the food was like. But being vegetarian (which can quite often result in limited food choices) I was rather impressed with the amount of vegetarian and vegan options offered.

In the end, I decided to opt for the Chargrilled Halloumi Skewers as a starter, the Crispy Coconut Cauliflower Wrap as my main and the Caramel Churros for dessert. It was a toss-up between the Veggie Stack and the Cauliflower Wrap but as much as I love Halloumi, I decided against having it for both my main and starter and I have been intrigued about trying cauliflower meals for a while, so decided to go for this option. It’s safe to say, I didn’t regret it. There was also no competition for me on the dessert menu. Whenever there’s the mention of caramel or Churros, I’m there. 

Once the food arrived, it did not disappoint. 

The portion sizes were all of decent sizes and very reasonably priced. The Halloumi Skewers were served with a Guava dip which appears to be a fruit. According to Cabana’s menu, it is a “classic combination, known as ‘Romeo & Juliet’ in Brasil”. To me, it tasted almost like a sweet chilli dip, just minus the spice. It went well with the Halloumi in the same way Brie and Cranberry work together as it mellowed out the savoury saltiness of the Halloumi. 

The Cauliflower Wrap was served chargrilled with lettuce, red onion, fresh avocado and roasted red pepper, and doused in an almond dip.  All ingredients which I love. There was also a hint of Paprika in the wrap which just complimented the wrap by adding a little kick to the mellow coconut flavour.

It was also served with some kind of beans dish and nachos. If I’m honest, I wasn’t a fan of the beans purely because I pretty much lived off of bean chilli for a year when I was really poor. The rest of the dish, on the other hand, was absolutely delicious and I’m almost drooling at the thought of it, not even kidding. 

I ended my three courses with Churros, served with a caramel dip. It tasted absolutely divine. The Churros was warm, coated in white sugar and also tasted and smelt like  Churros should do. It was a nice alternative for it to be served with caramel rather than a chocolate dip as I’m not really a fan of chocolate dips so tend to cast them aside. I can’t really describe the caramel dip other than saying “It tasted like caramel and was warm” – lame description (I know) but other than “It was very nice!” I can’t think of any other way to describe it. 

Now we’ve gone through my food options, let’s move onto drinks, shall we?

I decided to opt for two alcoholic drinks as the drinks menu had a vast selection of cocktails and seeing as I’m partial to a cocktail or two when I’m having a casual drink, I couldn’t say no. 

I decided to opt for a Carlos the Godfather and a Guara-negroni. The Godfather was essentially a G&T, served with lime, elderflower, cucumber and mint leaves. I can’t say no to a G&T and this was absolutely delicious. The elderflower and lime gave it a slightly sweet taste while the cucumber and mint gave an overall freshness to it. It also had the right consistency of gin and tonic.

I’ve never tried or even heard of a Guara-negroni and as I’m not a fan of really sweet cocktails, I decided to be bold and try it. I was warned that it is incredibly bitter and strong but I decided to try it anyway. I wasn’t keen on it at first as it was slightly too bitter even for me who loves bitter things. However, the more I kept drinking it the more it grew on me. Again, I can’t really describe this in any other way, so here’s Cabana’s ingredients description: An energising take on the classic Negroni: Gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, topped with Guarana, (the Brasilian berry sparkling soda), and served on the rocks.

Now, I shall wrap up this post with my overall experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed my evening at Cabana as it’s a restaurant I’ve been wanting to try for a while but seeing as Greg kept telling me it was full of spicy, meaty food I was put off as I don’t like either. However, it was the complete opposite. The menu offered spicy food but there was plenty of options that weren’t. 

The restaurant was also decked out in a very Brazilian style to give it that authentic look. You could go here for a full-blown meal or you could attend for a bite to eat or for cocktails. It doubles up as a bar and a restaurant and I like that. The staff were also incredibly friendly and helpful. 

I genuinely cannot fault it as it was a 100% lovely experience and I cannot wait to go back soon. Greg is currently itching to try it out. 

It was also lovely to see the Southampton Bloggers girls again as they’re all so nice and welcoming. Also big up to Alice and Emily for all the hard work they put into organising these events.

If you want to take a look at the Cabana menu, click here

*Meal offered in exchange for a review.

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