Every time a new restaurant opens in Newcastle I am excited to visit and when I heard about Cabana, a Brasilian Barbecue restaurant that had opened near The Gate, I couldn't wait to drag Ray along to sample some food!

It is located opposite Debenhams on Newgate Street, it's the perfect location to stop by after shopping or to start a night out with a meal and a few cocktails.
The decor of the place is really striking too, everything is bright and colourful, there are neon signs, fairy lights, graffiti style wall decor, striped seating and a huge mixture of lantern style lights hanging from the ceiling. Everything is fun and I love the industrial style bar and open kitchen... You feel like there is always something to look at!
We were greeted at the door and seated by a lovely waitress who offered us water while we looked through the menu.
As we wanted to save space for our main courses we decided to share a starter of Salt Cod Fritters; beautifully light and crispy fish bites served with a slice of lime and lime mayo on the side.
They were really delicious, and I found myself wishing that I had ordered a whole bowl to myself as I could have definitely eaten them all.
 
For my main I ordered the Spicy Malagueta Chicken from the Flame Grilled Skewers section of the menu, described on the menu as 'Cabana's best selling chicken, marinated in our sticky, spicy, sweet sauce' with fries and corn on the cob and Ray ordered the Pork & Papaya Sausage Wheel with sweet potato fries... The food from the skewers part of the menu is brought to the table carried by the waiter/waistress with the meat on two giant skewers which they push off onto your plate... All quite exciting and theatrical, but unfortunately for us, this is where things went downhill.

I can't say that my food looked overly appetising, it kind of slopped onto my plate, the chicken looked a little lacklustre and as the sides were served separately (the fries in a tin and the corn in a little pan) it didn't look like there was much there... for £12.95 I was kind of expecting more.
Nevertheless I tipped my chips onto my plate and tucked in, only to be disappointed that my 'sticky, spicy, sweet sauce' didn't have much flavour at all, it basically tasted like a tomato pasta sauce, and the chicken was quite 'wet' and bland, which was even more disappointing than the size of the meal as I was expecting something really tasty and packed with flavour.

As for Ray's food... Well as it was served she was informed they hadn't got any sausage wheels so they gave her three sausages instead, yes three sausages and a tub of sweet potato fries for £11.95?! We heard the people on the table behind us ordering this about ten minutes later and they were told about the fact that this would be replaced with three sausages before comitting to the order, so were a little annoyed Ray hadn't been told beforehand too - Especially as she was hungry and said she most definitely would have changed her order if that had been the case.

I don't want to sit here and write all bad things about Cabana, as I have said the place looks amazing and the service was good, however I couldn't help but complain about the food... and it really isn't like me to do so, in fact it's the first time I have ever complained.
I waited for the waitress to come and ask how everything was, when I took the opportunity to express my thoughts. I felt really guilty (although I probably shouldn't have), and I made it clear to her that I was sorry and that it wasn't her fault... but I'm glad I shared my disappointment, after all it's a brand new restaurant and I'd hope that they would take on board my comments.

My complaint was actually dealt with really well, the waitress spoke to the manager, who came to discuss my complaint further, and she was lovely too... She said she would give all of my feedback to the chef, and she explained the sausage wheel issue (they're sourcing a new supplier of a bigger wheel), of course new restaurants can have teething problems, and thanks to the service I would consider returning at a later date to see if things have improved.

We were kindly offered desserts on the house as an apology for our disappointment with the main courses, which we (and our hungry tummies) really appreciated!
I went for the Nega Maluca (Brasilian chocolate cake) and Ray chose the Chocolate Raindrop Doughnuts; fried dough balls stuffed with Nutella and extra Nutella on the side to dip into.
The chocolate cake was really tasty, it came cold with a caramel sauce and the doughnuts Ray got looked incredible... Unfortunately I don't like Nutella, but for anyone who does these look like a real winner!

I would like to thank the waitress and manager for being understanding and taking on board my complaint, the starter and desserts were delicious... If I return again hopefully things will have improved with the mains, as the concept of the restaurant is great!

Have you been to any of the Cabana restaurants? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Screen Shot 2014 09 21 at 11 01 03
(Some posts may contain PR samples, please read my disclaimer for more info)