"Flippant party image aside, Coco Bamboo’s food is good"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
They say you should never judge a book by its cover, and this rings true with Brazilian-Caribbean bar and restaurant Coco Bamboo. Its image is all about fun fun fun - bright lanterns and plants adorn the ground floor bar, and the walls are a loud orange where the restaurant is. DJs play from Thursday to Saturday and there is a large menu of tropical-flavoured cocktails to choose from, with a happy hour.
We approach with trepidation; can somewhere with such a bouncy atmosphere offer a decent meal? As it turns out, Coco Bamboo do a mean steak. The cut is called picanha, which roughly translates over here as the top sirloin. It has a considerable layer of fat which keeps it juicy and flavoursome, and it’s served sliced, so that the first thing we notice is the bright pink colour in the middle, followed by a deliciously chargrilled exterior. It comes with a cake made from cassava and callaloo - a spinach-like vegetable of Caribbean origin – which is slightly grainy and mostly tastes of cassava, a bit like a polenta cake.
The feijoada is also very successful, as my Brazilian dining companion notes. It’s an aromatic, smoky stew made with black beans and chunks of pork, served with green beans, basmati rice and rather curiously, orange slices, a typical side dish in Brazil. It also comes with farofa, which is coarsely ground manioc flour (from the same plant as cassava) that has been fried with onions, butter and palm oil. The result is like salty breadcrumbs, which go very well with the stew.
The ackee and grilled palm hearts with sautéed peppers and scallions is presented very daintily, with the ackee piled high in the middle of the plate, topped with fresh coriander and slices of sweet peppers, with nuggets of palm hearts dotted around it. It’s a light starter, and the different flavours complement each other. Spicy seafood gumbo has tiger prawns and green lip mussels, both giant and very tender, as well as heaps of chilli.
The desserts are uber-sacharine; there’s cheesecake with raisins and banana in the biscuit base, smothered in caramel, and the crème caramel with dulce de leche is super-sweet, with a few fresh strawberries to counteract its gloopiness.
Naturally we can’t leave without sampling their caipirinhas, but other cocktails include the Amazonia, which blends cachaça with the superfood açaí berry, lime juice and banana liqueur, a nice mixture of fruitiness, refreshing lime and creamy liqueur. A less sweet, robust option is the Brazilian Way, made with Chambord, cachaça, lychee and lime.
Coco Bamboo manage to uphold a party vibe while producing food that is - to use a cliché - “authentic”. Fans of Brazilian and Caribbean cuisine should have this one on their radar.
Leila reviewed Made In Brasil Boteco on Wed 24 Oct 2012