Canela London Restaurant Review - Restaurant Review of Canela London
Three out of Five stars
A gem in Covent Garden’s cafe culture, Canela serves good Portuguese and Brazilian food and drink in simple, relaxed surroundings.
With an open front leading from Earlham Street, just off Seven Dials, into a cool, sparse interior, Canela is a low-key, unassuming place. Apart from a giant chandelier hanging from the ceiling, that is. A variety of tempting Portuguese and Brazilian dishes are on display at the counter and there are often more interested customers than tables inside to seat them at. In typical Mediterranean style, there are also a few tables outside on the pavement and it’s a really nice spot to sit in, away from the hectic traffic of Covent Garden but with enough people around to make it interesting.
The feeling in the place is pretty laid back. The waiters are friendly and the service is fast, making it a good spot for a relaxed lunch or a bite to eat after work. The fact that it’s a one-off, not part of a chain, is a major appeal and its originality attracts a lot of young people in the know, as well as the inevitable Covent Garden tourist trade.
A generous chunk of homemade chorizo tart with green salad tasted just like being in Portugal. It could have been a bit warmer, but the flavour of the chorizo – they must have a good source - and the surprisingly big helping made up for that pretty well. A greenish coloured mushroom and leek soup had plenty of juicy mushrooms in it, and came in a great little terracotta pot that had a lid with a chimney. Other tempting dishes on offer were a delicious looking vegetable lasagne and cheese and vegetable pancakes. The café is renowned for its cakes, like the Portuguese custard tart and the banana cinnamon cake.
Canela offers a range of Portuguese wines including rose, Caipirinha and Mojito cocktails, hot chocolate, a Portuguese style cappuccino called galão and a good selection of unusual teas including ginger, cinnamon and mint. They also do some good fresh fruit juices.
The Last Word
Two things to bear in mind before visiting Canela – the prices are slightly higher than average for café food and it can be hard to get a table at busy times. Other than that, it’s difficult to find fault with this charming, easy-going café.