FABULOUS food : the best I have ever eaten outside Portugal!
yes, yes, I know its Brazilian, but both use Portuguese, & really moderate
pricing. I had fejoada (£3.60) a rich black bean stew with chorizo &
qtr chicken piri piri (£4.50)with good accompanying wines & beers.
I was tempted not to review it 'cos it could become a victim of
its own popularity, & soon I wont be able to get a table for weeks!
As it is, you MUST book not be disappointed
Walking up Bread Street in Penzance, the most gorgeous smell of coffee and grilled food wafted out of the dark doorway of the then newly opened Samba Cafe. It was too much to resist. The doorway is sandwiched between two furniture shops, and a sign guided me down a set of stairs into a cozy and colourful Brazilian cafe. Light poured in from the sheltered terrace, and the heady scent of delicious piri piri chicken and numerous stews, mingling with the rich scent of coffee made my head (and taste buds) spin with excitement. I had already had lunch, so I settled for a coffee and some freshly baked cheese bread, and sat outside. A place to eat outside is a rarity in Penzance, and this sheltered courtyard is a boon. The coffee was divine, the bread hot, moist and scrumptiously cheesy. I returned a couple of days later for an evening meal (booking recommended). The menu is mainly Brazilian and Portuguese tapas, with the option of a few larger meals, of which the star is charcoal grilled piri piri chicken, in 1/4, 1/2, and whole chicken portions. We shared a Brazilian black bean stew with smoked chorizo and belly pork (Feijoada), charcoal grilled chicken skewers barded with bacon (Medalhao de frango), breaded crab claws with lime (Perna de caranguejo), and salted cod croquettes (Croquetes de bacalhau). All were outstanding, mouth-watering, and beautifully presented. And very cheap (£3-£4 each). The stand out dish was the Feijoada dark, rich, and hearty. We then went on to try the piri piri chicken, as it smelled so good. There is the option of a mild or hot version, and we both went for the spicy one. I had fries with mine, or you can have salad. This was a meal in its own right, and lip-smackingly as good as the aroma that first enticed me in. After trying the tapas and the piri piri chicken, how could we not be tempted to test out their desserts? Homemade chocolate mousse for me, passion fruit mousse for my wife. Creamy, indulgent, and toothsome. Metaphors escape me. The ambiance of the place is great. It wasn't packed out, but there were plenty of fellow diners, and the thrum of Brazilian music and bright scenes of Rio adorn the walls to give the Samba Cafe plenty of atmosphere. At the time of writing, they aren't licensed to sell alcohol, so it was a bring your own arrangement, although I do believe that they will be licensed in a few months time. Fingers crossed they will mix a mean caipirinha! It's definitely worth tracking down this hidden gem, and well worth the five stars that I've given it. If you're on a budget, or even if you're not, I urge you to go there at once!
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