Floripa, Old Street/Shoreditch

Type of Bar: Bar/RestaurantEasy-goingBrazilian
Damage: £-££
Ideal for: FoodPartyShamelessly Drunk

 

Floripa has gone through many changes over the years, from seedy house of debauchery, to carnivalesque party venue, to what it is today.

Floripa still has a good vibe and a party atmosphere, but a half a year after the last time I was here, things have changed a bit. On the cocktail side. It’s still a large open plan space with an outdoor area and a stage for both bands and DJs, with large groups of people coming in for dinner and drinks.

 

Beginning with the Fogo de Floripa: Cachaca, pomegranate syrup and far, far, far too much Temepero Baiano (a spice combo much like the Indian garam masala, where every family has their own combination of various spices. This was pretty much plain cinnamon, maybe nutmeg as well;). The result was, in a word, obscene. Chokingly sweet, no one at the table could ingest this. So sweet that it didn’t taste of anything. Regrettable in every way.

6 months ago, Caipirinhas over here were actually pretty good. Recently things have taken a turn for the worse.

We thought, hey, the last time we got decent ones, and how can one mess up a Caipirinha? It’s a Brazilian venue after all. The Velho Barreiro Cachaca muddled with lime and sugar just came tasting of artificial flavouring and refined sugar. Just. No.

Whereas this venue is great for parties, I wish I’d be able to drink something.

The food was mediocre.

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I was also more annoyed by the general attitude of the venue, making it a headache to book spaces using bank detail etc., it ain’t Claridges. It just ended up feeling like such a waste.

Service was alright, nothing special, but not bad, either.
Next time I have a cachaca craving, I will remember to go back to Made in Brazil, Camden Town (Review HERE).

Drinks: *
Atmosphere: ***
Service: ***

Floripa

91-93 Great Eastern Street,
London EC2A 3HZ

http://www.floripalondon.com

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Casita, Shoreditch

Type of Bar: Easy-going, Tiny, Latin?
Damage£
Ideal for: Small groups, PartyShamelessly Drunk

I kinda don’t want to tell you about Casita.

Just round the corner from The Book Club with its queue of people who just don’t know any better, Casita is a tiny cocktail space with a whole lot of character.

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It’s worth playing Sardines in here

The Latin vibe of the place which is stressed in many reviews is barely noticeable in the crowded room, especially if you need to make your way to the bar. Luckily, the density of the crowd ebbs and flows, so as soon as you get some breathing space, you get a chance to get to know the wonderful bartenders. Always cheeky, up for conversation and a casual flirt, they know what they’re doing and will do whatever it takes to make sure you’re stumbling by last call at 11PM. Don’t be surprised by on-the-house shots of the bar signature Tequila con Verdita, which you’ll find yourself doing more of than expected (between-drinks palette cleansers I claim they are).

The shot of El Jimenez tequila with a chaser of coriander, mint, pineapple juice and fresh jalepenos will keep you coming back for more as you go through their list of expertly made classics like a Tommy’s Margarita (Tequila, agave nectar and lime, as usual), or a good old King of Roses: a sweet gingerbread syrup and Four Roses bourbon. If they have their hands on honey syrup, I highly recommend the Gold Rush, honey syrup, whiskey and lemon juice; or its gin cousin, the Bee’s Knees. They exemplify Casita’s nature: Simplicity, yet well done and supremely satisfying.

You could go off menu as well; a Sazerac I ordered came out fabulously – except it may have been served with ice (faux pas), but I can’t quite remember by the time I got to that drink. I believe I did experiment by ordering a rum daiquiri with Cynar artichoke bitter liqueur and loved it – not on their menu, but they will be happy to make this cocktail with a savoury roundedness for you.

And that’s the charm of the place; it’s a place to get disgracefully drunk without the risk of drinking something horrible.

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As for food, the bar offers a selection of take away menus to bring food to the bar for you: which reflects Casita’s incredibly laid back nature. Or you could steal their blackberries to eat. As long as you’re not causing drama, they’re happy as long as you are.

The monetary damage is minimal – four drinks and four shots got a tab for 40 pounds, pretty fantastic for the quality.

For the high rating, you must understand that we can’t limit high ratings to cushy table service bars with drinks at 16 pounds a pop as some reviewers think we must. If you want a shameless night out pressed up against strangers with a bad drink, go to a London Cocktail Club branch. If you want a shameless night out pressed up against strangers with a spectacular Nuclear Daiquiri in one hand and blinding Tequila con Verdita in the other, Casita is your destination.

Update: The glorious Casita bartender, Oskar, is retiring end of May 2014! We love him dearly and will miss him terribly, and wish him best of luck in his next, mysterious cocktail venture! Watch this space!

Update: Click HERE to for article on Casita Bar’s 8th Birthday feat. Ocho Tequila! A spectacle to multiple invited startenders and their cocktails!

Drinks: ****
Atmosphere: ***
Service: ****

Casita,
5A Ravey St,
London EC2A 4QW

Casita’s Google Plus Page

Made in Brasil, Camden Town

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant, Easy-going, Brazilian
Damage£
Ideal for: Food, PartyShamelessly Drunk

Camden’s Inverness Street takes on a great party vibe in the evenings, and Made in Brasil is an indispensible part of it.

It seems to have a party atmosphere almost constantly – which makes it a necessary pitstop when in Camden practically every time. At under 7 pounds, you can’t turn down the incredible assembly line of bartenders preparing Caipirinha after Caipirinha. Or if Cachaca isn’t your thing, the vodka variation, Caipiroskatends to take a slightly different route in flavours. The caipirinhas tend to focus on one flavor at a time – acai (fabulous), kiwi, chilli; the caipiroskas tend to be more hybridized with strawberry and basil, or mandarin and cashew.

MiB offers other classics and variations of Vodka Martinis, but trust that they know what they specialize in, and do it well.

Once the live band comes in and the night picks up, you want to turn to a shooter that really does you in. When the Gostosa is brought to the table, the actual aged Cachaca looks a lethal acid yellow. But couple that with the slice of strawberry dipped in chilli sugar that chases the shot and the sudden effect on the palette is extraordinary.

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Practically any flavour you need

The food menu is traditionally Brazillian, and well-priced, from a la carte to tapas. Expect a lot of cassava and black beans – you could dine in the much calmer basement, or keep the noise up upstairs when you’re stuffing face on the incredible Queijo coalho tostado com vegetais assados, or its meat-eater’s cousin.

In any case, the atmosphere coupled with the quick drink service means that you are always dangerously close to yelling “ANOTHER!” after every shot. Remember that Hailo is your friend.

Made in Brasil might not be a mixology haven, but they rock tradicional and rock it right. You want a live night out and a mother of a hangover; this is the place to end up.

Drinks: ***
Atmosphere: ****
Service: ***

 

Made in Brazil
12 Inverness St,
London NW1 7HJ

http://www.madeinbrasil.co.uk/‎