Sunday, 31 May 2015
Made In Brasil Boteco, Chalk Farm
I have never been to Brazil. Odd, given that any native I have met has invariably been sunny delight - no more so than the fun-lovin' trannies that hung out in a club I DJ'd in Paris when the weren't floggin' their fake fannies in the Bois de Boulogne. Another salad days stint, slinging hash in Downtown Manhattan's Sounds of Brasil, left me with a taste for feijoada, caipirinhas.... and the music. To Jorge Ben, a regular performer at the NYC diner/ dancehall, I learned to bossa and samba like a carioca; although some heavy lubin' of dem done-in lower limbs will be needed should you demand a demo. While carnival in Rio, and Niemeyer's modernist architectural gem Brasilia, are on my bucket list, for now, there's this new NW1 'boteco', a sister to Camden's original Made In Brasil. With over 12,000 found in Belo Horizonte alone, the boteco is a bar where street food is usually also served. Here, lurid airbrushed street art in a series of steamy saloons, and an all-weather verandah, provide a convincing backdrop for live bands and DJs spinning samba, bossa and mod beats Brazilian. The main draw? Juicy Rio-style rinses - tropical fruit-flavoured caipirinhas, all the more rewarding when offered at £4.50 on happy hour. With over 250 different brands, the bar boasts the biggest display of cachaça in Europe, I'm told. Discover Brazil’s national spirit in martinis such as Acai Berry or Cafezhino (£7.25) Made with juniper berries, crème de violette and maraschino - Santos Dumont, named after the Brazilian flying machine inventor who astonished Parisians by looping the Eiffel Tower in 1901, is the bar's take on the Aviation. Order share platters from £15 and tuck into ‘petiscos' (tapas) such as cassava and salt beef balls, palm heart salad, peppered squid with aïoli, salt cod cakes, grilled halloumi and vegetable skewers that, fortunately, I am no longer forced to serve, to pay the rent on a cockroach-infested walk-up in Manhattan's Avenue A and 1st, a no-go, crack-fuelled, violent slum as dangerous as any Rio favela back in the day.