Monday 6 June 2016

Cabana - Newcastle's Brasillian Barbecue

A few month ago Simon and I spent a pretty crazy night at the Newcastle opening of Cabana. The night passed in an amazing blur of cocktails, delicious tasters and beautiful dancers covered in glitter and feathers.

Now that we've finally recovered (old age definitely makes a hangover longer) we decided it was about time we headed back to the Brasillian Barbecue to give it a proper go.

Cabana is a small chain with only ten restaurants across the country. They are mostly in London but have also settled in my very favourite northern cities - Manchester, Leeds and, of course, Newcastle. You will find the Newcastle restaurant right next to the Gate, alongside fellow newbie Turtle Bay.

Our table was booked on a pretty miserable Wednesday evening, the rain had been lashing down all day and I was feeling a little cold and wet.  Luckily Cabana offers a great escape and as we stepped into the warmth I forgot I was in Newcastle with wet feet, and was instantly transported to Brasil.

Cabana looks amazing with exposed lighting, colourful seating, a party atmosphere and plenty of neon signs - welcome to Brasil!

Important matters first, studying the cocktail menu. There's plenty to choose from at Cabana including a pretty generous "Happy Hour" offering. As Brasil is famous for its Caipirinhas we both decided ordering a couple would be a great start to our evening. I opted for the Cherry and Almond and Simon had the Prohibition.

Our drinks were really delicious although we were a little disappointed with the amount of ice in them which meant they disappeared far too quickly. We appreciate a nice cold cocktail, but slightly less ice would have made these bad boys better.

The menu at Cabana is great fun with Starters and Street Food to share, Flame Grilled Skewers, Brasilian Burgers, Ribs and a whole range of sides to add to your meal.

I've really been into the idea of street food and sharing starters recently and was pleased to see that Cabana had a great offering to begin our meal. We'd already tried a few of the tasty dishes at launch night so knew we were in for a treat. We opted for the Cheesy Baked Dough Balls with Garlic Butter and the Chargrilled Halloumi with a Guava Dip which we shared between the two of us.  So delicious and wolfed down in a couple of seconds.

We loved our starters and could definitely see ourselves packing into a booth with friends to enjoy a night of working our way through all of the street food.

On to the main event and we were both eager to sample things from different parts of the menu.

Simon ordered from the "New Style" section of the menu, Cabana's twist on Brasilian classics. He chose the Feijoada, a hot stew of beef, pork and beans cooked over night. It came served with Biro Biro rice and turned into a bit of a fun "make your own" meal with the addition of various toppings to sprinkle over the top.

Unfortunately Simon wasn't too keen on his meal and decided it tasted a little bland. In true Chloe style I pinched a fork full and had to agree. It was missing any real flavour and was a little disappointing. If you are into spicy food it may be that the dish comes alive when you add one of the spicy sauces but if, like us, you prefer your spice mild the dish lacks any real life.

I opted for a Flame Grilled Skewer which came with any two sides. I chose the Pork and Papaya Sausage Wheel with French Fries and Rio Beans. I wasn't entirely sure what Rio Beans were but our lovely waiter let me try a little dish of them so I could make sure I liked them before ordering. I was so impressed by how thoughtful he was and was happy to report that the Rio Beans got a thumbs up from me.

My skewer arrived at the table and was put onto my plate in front of me ready for me to add my sides. The way the food was presented in separate plates and bowls made it all look a little underwhelming but once I'd put all the food onto my plate things were looking up.

I was pretty disappointed with my Skewer which was supposed to be "honey glazed sausage" but I really couldn't taste any honey at all and it was a very average sausage. The fries were also nothing to write home about and needed a bit of seasoning to give them some flavour.

On to desserts and as a nut allergy sufferer I was a little gutted to find that most of the dessert menu was made up of peanuts. We all know that dessert is my favourite course so I felt very sad that nearly every dish came covered in nuts.

With desserts being prepared in a kitchen with that many peanuts I decided not to take any unnecessary risks so chatted my options through with our really helpful waiter. He was really kind and handled my nut allergy so well.  In the end we decided that the Caramel Flake Sundae (served without the peanut candy!) would be the best option for me.

Although it was disappointing to only have limited dessert choices I really enjoyed my Sundae which was a delicious combination of caramel frozen yoghurt, chocolate brownie and chocolate sauce. Our lovely waiter had also added a few Oreos for me to make it extra special. Having a nut allergy when you're eating out isn't always great fun so I really appreciated this extra little touch to make my dessert a bit special.

Simon chose the Raindrop Donuts, on the promise that he wouldn't be allowed to kiss me with his chocolate nutella lips! I obviously can't report back to you on these because of my nut allergy but I have heard from a lot of people that they're pretty damn good.

Our meal at Cabana was a real mixed bag! Our main courses were pretty disappointing and the dessert menu definitely needs to be a bit better for nut allergy sufferers but we really loved our starters and the staff were so friendly and helpful.

I'd love to know if any of you have been and what you thought?

Thank you to Cabana  for inviting us. Our meal was complimentary, but all opinions are our own. 



  1. We shall have to pop in soon. For the decor alone.

  2. I loved all the food on launch night but I didn't have a full main or anything. I much preferred Cabana to Las Iguanas though by far. Honest, balanced review.

    1. Ah do you not like Las Iguanas? I don't think I've met anyone who doesn't like it! LOL

  3. I think you read my review already..? I had the same thoughts as you, okay food, nothing special but great service and atmosphere x

  4. Ah I think Cabana needs to up it's game if it wants to compete with Turtle Bay next door.

    The staff do sound lovely though and I like how you were given a little taster when you weren't sure if you were going to like something - good service!

  5. I agree with you, Chloe. I've visited twice to give them the benefit of doubt, but I just felt disappointed. Both times there were positives & negatives. I hope they listen to their feedback as it seems like Turtle Bay may be the go-to destination for cocktails and food in that area instead.

  6. We loved it, Thom proclaimed it was the nicest meal he had in a long time and he eats a lot :)

  7. Not that great and, actually, quite expensive. The meat is cooked over gas flame so lacks flavour. Viva Brazil do theirs over coals. We preferred Viva Brazil and Turtle Bay.


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