Named after a paradise city in Brazil, this Brazillian-themed bar gives a funky twist to the Shoreditch scene.
Situated close to the busy Old Street roundabout, this Brazilian restaurant-cum-bar has taken up a great address on the former site of Favela Chic. With an attractive leafy exterior and an interior full of plants, painted fruits on the walls, exposed brickwork, patterned wallpaper and fabric-covered chairs, not to mention the array of Brazilian-themed items over the door and the giant red, yellow and blue Angel of Floripa hanging from the ceiling, it's like a ray of sunshine among the characterless venues starting to take over the area. Floripa manages to be Brazillian in a non-gimmicky way and nicely works this with a cool East End vibe.
While the venue attracts a small sprinkling of so-called hipsters (most have gone in search of cooler places up the road in Dalston), it mostly draws in people who work in the nearby offices during the week and those who've come in to London for a big night out from outside of London at the weekend. The mood varies a lot and it can change drastically during the night, too, when it transforms from more of a restaurant (earlier on) to a live music bar (later on).
There are different DJs every night of the week. Expect to hear everything from Brazilian funk to hip hop, samba beats and blues – certainly not the commercial sounds that frequent some of the other venues nearby.
Floripa serves Brazilian-style petiscos (small plates) and salgados (snacks), with a menu that changes with the seasons and food that's freshly cooked. These include the delicious – and very Brazilian – pao de queijo (cheesy bread, £3.50), which comes in a portion of five small buns with flavourful moist centres; a very refreshing and tasty avocado and baby-gem salad (£5.50); and a delightful fava bean dip (£4.50) that comes with baby gem lettuce and fresh pitta that's perfect for dunking in it.
Stand-out dishes are, however, the pan-roasted sea bass (£7), which tears away nicely before the subtle sweet flavours of the white fish melt in your mouth and the super-scrumptious chicken thigh slow cooked in a rich-tasting, yet perfectly creamy and gently spiced coconut and saffron sauce (£6.50). The dessert menu (£5-£6) includes a lime sorbet with muddled fruits and a hint of tequila (£4.50), which is fabulous if you want something light yet satisfyingly sweet after your meal. Served in a cocktail glass, its zesty flavours really cleanse your palate.
Wine starts at £16.50 for a bottle/£5 a glass of house merlot or sauvignon blanc, or £32 for Brazilian fizz (Miolo Millesime). The merlot is easy to drink and goes with many dishes. If you're after a beer, the venue serves Brahama (of course), as well as a small selection of standard brands. Expect to pay around £4 a bottle. Where the venue excels, however, is with its cocktails. The signature drink – Fire Of Floripa (£7.50) – is especially impressive. Made with cachaca, home-made pomegranate syrup and a squeeze of fresh lime and topped with tempero de baiano (spice mix), it arrives at the table flaming and its sharp and strong flavours really pack a punch.
The Last Word
Lively, fun and funky, Floripa has the prices you can expect to pay in the 'ditch these days, but its authentic character makes it a great addition to the area.