“Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand” or something like that
The next few weeks will be full of Olympic sporting endeavour with a dash carnival flavour, so where are the best places in the Capital to soak up a proper Brazilian atmosphere and really get in the Olympic swing of things?
To kick things off, head to Guanabara on Parker Street where you can catch the opening ceremony with a caipirinha in hand, and after sampling some of the Brazilian street food on offer, throw yourself in to the carnival spirit with samba performances from top percussion squad Rhythms of the City.
Cabana at Central St. Giles are serving a taste of what some of the athletes may be trying with their ‘Best of Brasil Menu of Champions’, classic cheesy dough balls, chimichurri marinated hangar steak, biro-biro rice and Rio beans, mouth watering stuff, of course washed down with a caipirinha or two…
Over on Soho’s Lexington Street, Yoobi proudly boasts the title of “London’s first Temakeria” serving Japanese Temaki rolls, delicate hand-sized sushi filled cones of deliciousness that would certainly keep most diet-conscious Olympic athletes happy. What’s the Brazilian connection? Founders Carolina & Nicolas discovered Brazilians love of Temaki whilst on a trip to Rio, so decided to bring Japanese food and Brazilian vibe together in one place taking influences from Tokyo, Rio and London to create a relaxed, visually inspiring and social dining space.
Take a quick hop skip and jump North of Oxford Street to the fantastic Brazilian Gourmet on Fitzrovia’s Cleveland Street. Here you’ll find a fantastic little restaurant serving authentic dishes from the heart of Brazilian culture including Pão de Queijo, literally translated as ‘Heaven on a plate’, a wonderful cheesy bread, Picanha, Brazil’s famous barbecued rump steak, Coxinha, a deep fried doughy chicken ball stuffed with flavour and to top it all off, the decadent Brigadiero, a rich and smooth chocolate truffle dessert.
If you’re planning in staying home to watch the Olympic action unfold over the coming weeks, how about bringing a little bit of Rio in to your home? Bayswater’s Casa Brasil sell everything you could ever need, all authentic Brazilian products from Cachaca (the prime ingredient of the Caipirinha) to cheese bread mixture so you can create your own Pão de Queijo.
Lastly, if you really want to throw yourself in to the carnival spirit with aplomb, why not head down to the Southbank and hook up with the London School of Samba? These folks are the real deal with the sole aim of educating, entertaining and engaging the public in traditional Brazilian carnival arts. They offer courses on everything from drumming to dressmaking and being a charity, they’re very inclusive welcoming all-comers irrelevant of talent or experience. Every Sunday at Waterloo, they hold open classes in drumming and dance, so you can just turn up for a taste and see how you get on, but be aware, its infectious! Leave your inhibitions ate the door and jump in head first (oh, and take earplugs, its guaranteed to be lively and LOUD!)
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