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3rd Nov 2012 10:54am | By Helen Elfer
Coming into this cosy, tropical-hued restaurant from blustery Chalk Farm Road is an instantly warming experience.
The walls are painted in lime green and shocking orange, and the first thing you see is a giant bar, well-stocked with cachaça, rum, fresh fruit and everything else you might need for an exotic cocktail.
We’re here for a leisurely Sunday afternoon lunch, and while about half the tables are full and there’s plenty of atmosphere, this restaurant definitely seems like more of an evening joint.
The grub All the Caribbean staples are on the menu here, such as jerk chicken and curried goat, along with Brazilian faves including feijoada, a pork and black bean stew.
We begin with saltfish and ackee (Jamaica’s national dish), delicately presented with arty drizzles of balsamic vinegar and baby tomatoes. It’s a small portion but bursting with flavour.
Two stonking main courses arrive next: my date gets stuck into juicy cuts of beef, pork and chicken that make up the mixed barbecue, while I’ve got a Brazilian fish moqueca, a light fish stew with soft tilapia cooked in a creamy coconut and sweet red pepper sauce – I clean my plate.
Dessert is equally lip-smacking – chocolate and brazil nut terrine comes with a kicking spicy chocolate ice cream. The banana cheesecake, which the waitress tells us she can’t get enough of, definitely lives up to the hype.
It’s smothered in caramel sauce and desiccated coconut, with a layer of gooey banana over the biscuit base. Delish.
Behind the bar Naturally, rum punches, batidas and caipirinhas are the order of the day here.
Try the ultra summery mango and coconut batida, which comes with cachaça, coconut cream and maraschino liquor.
Bill please Starters from £4.90; mains from £10.95; desserts from £4.50; wine from £4.10; cocktails from £6.80; happy hour is Mon-Fri between 5pm-8pm.
Verdict Seriously satisfying grub and engaging, upbeat staff make this a great place to pretend you’re on holiday somewhere warm and exotic.
48 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AJ
Tube | Chalk Farm