Coco Bamboo
48 Chalk Farm Road
Camden NW1 8AJ
24/12/2010
I really didn’t want to go. Brazilian food…??? Greasy, fatty, “beany”…gassy. I don’t like it, I don’t want it. On top of that, it’s snowing. Why don’t we google “Brazilian food delivery”, stay in and put an end to my suffering? “NO” – says Edo – “we are doing this properly. Stop the tantrum and get in the car”. I don’t remember if I fell asleep, been busy complaining or warp-drove, but when we got to Coco Bamboo, seasons had definitely changed. Since I’m pretty sure the London Borough of Camden operates on the same calendar of the rest of the UK, I guess a) we are the owner of a travel machine b) Brazilians are magicians and can tweak reality. Warm breeze, sunset lights, friendly smiles accompanied us to our table on the mezzanine level overlooking the bar area. Busy but not noisy, laid back but very attentive, simple yet elegant. Where’s the catch?

I read somewhere that Heart of Palm are very common on Brazilian tables, true or not I love them so I had them.

The menu recites: Grilled Palm Hearts on a bed of mixed leaf salad with cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers and kaffir lime dressing.

And I got: Iceberg lettuce with ¼ of a tin of Green Giant hearts of palm. Warm not grilled. Not impressed. Starting to see where the catch is.
Edo ordered: Coco Bamboo Plantain and Sweet Potato Fritters with salad and homemade sweet chilli.

A very-nice-and-Colin-Farrell-resembling waiter brought 3 small orang-ish doughs. Nothing close to what we had in mind, but 100 times better and more interesting. Well, maybe not 100 times better but yes, impressed!

Had a quick look around before ordering my main. I’m not a big eater, but portions seemed on the small side… A-HA here’s the catch, then!

I went for Bobó de Camarão – Tiger Prawns cooked in coconut, Cassava and palm oil; Edo had – naturally – Feijoada.

After the “smaller than shrimps prawns” I had at the Bangladeshi restaurant and having had a glimpse of other customers’ dishes, I was prepared to the sight of a lonely tail sticking out of a coconut soup. But Brazilian Colin used his magic once more: 6 big, fat, pink, juicy king prawns were proudly and boldly dominating the velvety puree of coconut & Co.
Edo’s Feijoada looked very authentic and generous. Again, both impressed.

I wished I had room for pudding, which I hadn’t, so finished my glass of wine, opened my Xmas Cracker, had coffee and asked for the bill.

Now, £52 for 2 starters, 2 mains, 2 glasses of wine, water, coffees and lovely service seems pretty good to me. But then, something happened: we left the restaurant and the world was cold, wet and grey outside. AND THAT’S THE CATCH.

  • Food: 4
  • Ambience: 4
  • Service: 4.5
  • Value: 4.5
  • Overall: 4.25
Monica
Another pleasant night out with no fireworks. Monica did the research and chose this one; it looked alright, there seemed to be a better option in Ealing but it has recently closed. So off we go to Camden Locks, a part of town we know well but I had never noticed this one.

The restaurant is a young, vibrant, informal place for a simple meal with friends, no frills but cute. I actually liked the décor, plus even though it was clearly buzzy it was not too noisy, all in all pleasant.

They were very polite on the phone a very polite on the night. Our waiter was a Colin Farrel lookalike with a latin accent of some sort, not quite as handsome thankfully – that would have distracted my wife – and very kind, timely, friendly, helpful.

The food was alright. It is Brazilian but not a churrascaria, Monica would not have been particularly keen on that, being pseudo-vegetarian. I had plantain and sweet potato fritters for starter, which was not overwhelming but very tasty and peppery, different from the cliché’ but in a good way.

For main I had fejoada, which I had never tried. Monica said it looked like the real deal and I can say it surely tasted good. There was a clay pot with the main event consisting of stewed black beans, sausage and pork, quite tasty, then you get a large plate with rice, tapioca, and a couple of vegatables to pick and mix or to smother the stew on. It was fun and good.

I drank a glass of unimpressive yet decent Chilean wine and no dessert. The overall bill was something in the region of £50 for both, hence a tremendously good deal.

  • Food: 2.5
  • Ambience: 2.5
  • Service: 3
  • Value: 3.5
  • Overall: 2.87
Edo
BRAZIL