So unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month you’ll know that the 2016 summer Olympics hit Rio, Brazil, as the world descended in a blaze of colour to celebrate the best athletes in amateur sport! Before I get carried away waxing lyrical about the red, white and blue light-up trainers Team GB wore to the closing ceremony, just too cute, I had better talk about Roxii and mine’s own Brazilian experience at Guanabara, one of London’s top South American eateries.
Firstly, Guanabara is massive and I’m not just saying that to please them because it really does have three floors! Friday and Saturday nights are designated party nights with dinner, drinks and dancing all in true carnival style! Sadly, Roxii and I went on a Thursday night but we could easily imagine just how awesome the atmosphere could be as the music playing was loud, Latin and very, very catchy. Having sat down on long wooden benches we were then handed our cocktail menus straight away, always a good start, and our lovely waitress went off to give our Bar Board order to the kitchen.
Guanabara’s cocktail menu is pretty large with lots of delicious, refreshing choices plus plenty of weekend, 2-4-1 and happy hour offers. You’ve also got the usual options of red, white and rose wine as well as tasty shots, beers and cider not to mention the alcohol-free mocktails! We decided to start with Berry Blossom, a decidedly alcoholic icy fusion of Stoli Razberi vodka, raspberry purée and freshly squeezed lime juice all topped off with a dash of soda. It tasted really great, the raspberry vodka gave it an instant kick, but we both felt that there was just a little too much ice and so the drink itself seemed watered down.
The next round, a cocktail called Berry Island seemed much, much better and was served in cute pink and blue glasses decorated the sweetest miniature cocktail umbrellas. Guanabara’s Berry Island is billed as “an exciting and exotic blend of spiced rum, wild blackberry liqueur and red wine, cranberry juice and wild berry purée.” In short, Berry Island was berry, berry nice and got us in the perfect mood for plenty of delicious Brazilian food.
The Guanabara Bar Board is a feast for the senses and tastes pretty damn good too with the likes of BBQ Pork Ribs, Sweet Potato Fries and Guava BBQ Chicken Wings on the menu. There were also crunchy tortilla chips with roast sweet potato chilli and sour cream dip and three different varieties of tacos including Pork Pibil Tacos which is a taco slow cooked in a special Yucatecan marinade with pink pickled onions and sour cream. Next up, were the Halloumi Shroom Tacos which are filled with a mixture of wild and field mushrooms in a creamy sauce and topped with grilled halloumi cheese as well as some awesome Chipotle Chicken Tacos consisting of pulled chicken smothered in smoky chipotle sauce.
The entire bar board was fresh, exciting and bursting with different flavours which, as you’ll agree, is what you’d come to expect from a Brazilian venue. However, my favourite items had to be the sweet potato fries, of which both Roxii and I agreed had been cooked to utter perfection! I also immediately fell in love with the Guava BBQ Chicken Wings which I’d assumed were dipped in honey- hence the sweetness but nope it’s the Guava giving it that sweet, tangy taste. The tacos were also a revelation, especially the Halloumi Shroom Tacos- who knew that cheese could taste that good! We crunched on the tortilla chips, Roxii polished off the ribs and declared them messy but tasty but sadly I couldn’t eat any of the chilli dip as it was just too spicy!
Guanabara would be just perfect for after work drinks, girls, or guys night out, birthday celebrations or even as a fun alternative to the standard, table for two, date night. This place is big, bright, beautiful and buzzing and was starting to fill up nicely as we were leaving. As diners eat at long communal tables I imagine that after one or two of Guanabara’s signature cocktails, a smorgasbord of amazing Brazilian food and a spot of dancing you’ll all be the very best of friends!
Written by Kirsty Liddle.
Kirsty Liddle is a freelance journalist who has written for Bauer media and Vidados. Catch her tweeting @eclipse1473.
New London Theatre