Restaurant Review: Cabana, Manchester

Earlier this week we spent the afternoon in Manchester city centre, one of my favourite places.

We met my mum and started our quest to find all the Bee in the City bees. They are so lovely and the trail is so popular you often have to queue for a minute or two at each bee before you can get a photo with them.

Once we’d spotted a few it was time for lunch, so we made our way over to the Corn Exchange and to Cabana.

Cabana are traditionally considered to be a Brazilian barbecue style eatery, and whilst that is still true and you can get some seriously meaty dishes there, their new menu really appeals to the wider vegetarian and vegan audience too.

This newest menu sees the arrival of seafood as a main for the first time in the form of Spicy Malagueta Salmon. Since it is new, and considering I love salmon, that’s what I decided to order for my main course. My starter also fit with the seafood theme of my order as I plumped for Spicy Malagueta Prawns. The prawns were pretty good. They came with a mayo dip, though I didn’t use it, and they were a good size for a starter: two king prawns on each of the two skewers. They were meaty and not too filling and a great start to my seafood based meal.

Prawn starter at Cabana

My Malagueta Salmon was also really tasty, though it was just a bit on the spicy side for me. To say both the starter and the main were Malagueta dishes I found the salmon was considerably more spicy than the prawns. That’s not to say the salmon wasn’t enjoyable – I thoroughly enjoyed it – but I’m not sure if I would choose it again given my own personal preferences when it comes to spicy flavours.

My mum chose Loaded Nachos to start and a Spicy Malagueta Chicken Wrap as a main. The nacho serving was huge, everyone at the table tried some and there was still quite a lot left in the dish. It’s certainly big enough for two people to share as a starter.

Malagueta Salmon at Cabana

The Malagueta chicken wrap wasn’t a small portion either. My mum managed to eat around two thirds of it but had to leave some. She enjoyed what she did eat though there wasn’t all that much actual chicken in the wrap, it was heavy on the avocado and other vegetables. The wrap is a baked dish rather than the type of wrap you might find in a sandwich shop, and was definitely a main course in its own right.

The children’s meal options were mostly what I expected really. Burgers and the Cabana version of chicken nuggets were featured of course, but the one children’s dish that caught my eye was the sweet potato and cauliflower curry. There was another vegetarian option of grilled halloumi and guava dip. So overall something for the staunch nugget fans and the more adventurous, too.

Apparently my children don’t fall into the latter category so we ordered 2 beef burgers and some crispy fried chicken. The crispy fried chicken was a hit but the burgers were a little over done and the boys didn’t really enjoy them, leaving over half a burger each. There was more than enough food on the table though and nobody went hungry in the slightest. The burgers were not burnt, just a little on the chewy side, and with salad and sauce in the bun they might have been finished off by the children.

Our server, Cam, was very good. Helpful in assisting with the menu and happy to make recommendations without being at all pushy. He was polite and attentive without hovering around the table at all, which we have experienced in the past and found offputting.

The desserts were very good – my mum had a vegan ice cream which she said was absolutely delicious, and the bigger two boys had upside down ice cream cones (which they were thoroughly amused by!). I ordered apple slices with honey for my youngest and everyone loved those – it’s definitely something I’ll be serving up at home now.

The restaurant itself boasts a somewhat unique look, with denim jean upholstery and multi-coloured furniture. The atmosphere is great – laid back, relaxing with some funky background music.

We only used the downstairs baby change toilet which could have done with a bit of a clean but we were there at 1.30pm so had perhaps arrived after the lunchtime rush.

Cabana is a relaxed venue with a versatile menu, appealing to an increasingly wide audience. It’s a great place for cocktails too – there is a 2 for £9 offer on some drinks – and I wouldn’t hesitate to return with friends. I can recommend the Spiced Espresso Martini but you wouldn’t need many of those before you were ready for home!

Thank you to Cabana for inviting us to try their new menu.

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