A taste of Brazil in Camden Town: Spiritual Caipirinha

31 Mar

Tucked away on a side street in the bustling, strutting heart of Camden Town, Spiritual Caipirinha is a gem of a restaurant- bar, known to few. The tiny venue is intimate and trendy, squeezing in a few tables in front of a bar that boasts a bottle collection and cocktail list worthy of the Brazilian cocktail the place is named after. Our fifteen-seater table for the occasion filled most of the restaurant and proved quite an obstacle once the bar got busy, with chatty Latinos and trendy North Londoners squeezing round us to get through.

Caipirinhas ahoy!

Although Spiritual Caipirinha claims to offer a menu spanning all South America, the place is as Brazilian in character and cuisine as the caipirinha, which is a must to accompany your meal. Whether you tuck into the xinxin de galinha (chicken  breast stewed with coconut milk, cashew, palm oil, served with rice and farofa) for £10 or the lula frita no fuba (deep-fried squid breaded with polenta, served with mixed salad and lime) for £7, the caipirinha (made from cachaça, lime, sugar and ice) is a sweet accompaniment. Former Copacabana Palace Hotel staffer Pietro Rocha is behind this mouth-watering menu, offering a real taste of Rio de Janeiro. I chose the contra file com batata frita e salada, for £14, which when translated into English, sirloin steak with chips and salad, sounds like the least adventurous option possible. But, three words for you: South American beef. I don’t know whether it was the way it was prepared or the meat itself, it was delicious.

The whole experience offered a revelation of what it’s like to eat somewhere other than Pizza Express or Bella Italia, somewhere completely independent and unbranded. The mood lighting was so ‘moody’ I could barely see the menu at times, and the service was slow as bar-goers clamoured for cocktails, but so what? Spiritual Caipirinha is not meant to serve you fast food and predictable muzac. As they put it themselves: “Spiritual Caipirinha bar is a place where all spirits are welcome, all worries are forgotten and everyone can relax and enjoy a delicious cocktail and exquisite food. It has a quirky atmosphere where you and your friends can get together to talk about life. Come and meet us, we are waiting for you…” And, as intended, the atmosphere was friendly and laid-back, aided by some live music which had us all laughing and shouting to be heard. Like all good independent restaurants, Spiritual Caipirinha took a bit of finding, but once you’ve been you’ll keep going back, as the animated regulars at the bar told us.

Spiritual Caipirinha is on Ferdinand Street, Camden, NW1 8ER.                               Average meal price: £25. Find it on TopTable. Call: 0207 485 6791

Image 1: toptable

Image 2: animamundidances


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