We satisfy our sweet tooth at Brazilian café in JLT 12 Reviews
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New and niche as it sounds, Brazilian café venture Sweet Brasil in JLT isn’t quite the first of its kind. Since the success of its outlet in Dubai Ladies Club, a second, more publicly accessible version has been on the cards and in the opening phases for some time. When the new JLT location was finally ready, our curiosity and hunger was immeasurable.
Located along one of the nicer lakeside promenades at JLT, the first thing that caught our curious eye was the interior. The initial impression was of a fairly usual café setup: modern, neatly conceived and informal. Small as the café was, the layout created a sense of space and light, thanks in part to the crisp, clean combination of a stark, icy white colour scheme, with achingly bright blue, green and yellow flashes (the colours of the Brazilian flag). It looked as though the café had kitted itself out in one fell swoop at Ikea. Yet despite my dining companion noting how the ultra-newness of every object left the place looking a touch sterile, I had to admire this fun and eye-catching commitment to concept.
Actually, beyond the quirky decor, the brand consistency extended to the staff’s colour coded-uniforms (I assume they’d been on a group shopping trip) and the non-smoking sign in Brazilian colours to the (wait for it) yellow toilet paper. Some might snort at such efforts. I, on the other hand, had to giggle.
Amusing as this all was, it was time to see if the food was equally as charming. The ‘small savouries’ section of the menu (known as ‘salgados’ in Portuguese, and typically eaten as a snack with coffee) offered one of every variety and looked like a good place to start. Although we were disappointed that the selection of empadinha (mini-pies) were served cold, they were still satisfying and flavoursome (the shrimp and ‘heart of palm’ versions in particular are the ones to try). The selection of cornmeal-coated fritters were a comforting snack, but they were a little simplistic and heavy in comparison.
Ironically, the paõ de quiejo (cheese buns) took some time to arrive because they were freshly made and piping hot. Yet they tasted nothing like the versions I’ve tried before – every bite of the chewy-cheese interior reminded me of a squash ball.
The selection of main courses looked less quintessentially Brazilian to me, but there were plenty of Brazilian touches to the standard café selection of sandwiches and salads. The rock shrimp burger, we were assured, was very typical to Brazil, although the combination of coriander and mango brought to mind a more Thai-style spectrum of flavouring. Regardless, it made for a wonderful and unusually light burger, packed with sweet, fresh and fragrant flavours.
The carne seca (dried beef) sandwich produced mixed feelings. The overall texture was quite oily– it could have done with something to freshen it up in addition to the solitary lettuce leaf. The meat was also a little tough and chewy, but the flavour was intense yet mellow: a fullness created by a touch of caramelly sweetness and a background of mellow spices. Sadly, the staff seemed a little reticent to explain the methods and ingredients for either of these dishes. Maybe they were worried that I’d steal granny’s secret recipe and set up shop across the water.
Also on offer was a decadent-looking selections of desserts: thankfully these came with a more forthright set of explanations. The gigantic slice of gooey brigadeiro chocolate cake offered a wonderful gamut of creamy to crunchy textures, but it was a little too decadent and sweet for us to finish. So we were thankful for the pudim de claras: this ghost of a mousse, made from egg white and bathed in sticky syrup, disappeared like a whisper.
All in all, I’d say ‘obrigada’ and see you back at Sweet Brasil. I’ll be the one in the yellow chair asking about the recipes.
The bill (for two)
1x mixed platter Dhs45
1x rock shrimp burger Dhs55
1x carne seca sandwich Dhs50
1x pudim de claras Dhs16
1x brigadeiro cake Dhs18
1x tea Dhs16
1x coffee Dhs15
2x small water Dhs10
Total (excluding service) Dhs225
Time Out Dubai,
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