Amazonas, a brand new Brazilian and Portuguese street food cafe, located on Splott’s Clifton Street nails all of the above.
Whilst the decor is bright, minimalist and modern, the super-friendly owner (who hails from Madeira) gave us the warmest of welcomes. Having been given a detailed run through of the menu, which comprises of a mix of small dishes with a few larger plates and daily specials thrown in for good measure, we ordered a selection to share and waited for the good stuff to arrive.
Caldo de cana (sugarcane juice) was served ice cold with a twist of lime and the addition of fresh mint (£2.95). It was reminiscent of the ultimate virgin mojito. A mango smoothie (£2.95) was a bit light on fruit but was still very refreshing.
Milho Frito (£1.50) were golden cubes of polenta, crisp on the outside and silky smooth and lightly herbed on the inside. Moreish as hell.
Feijão tropeiro (£2) had a breakfast comfort food kinda thing going on - soft beans, salty bacon, cassava flour, scrambled egg and chopped parsley all combined to make a tasty plate.
A prego (£4), the traditional Portuguese steak sandwich, was better than any I ate in Lisbon last year. The soft homemade flat roll was slathered with garlicky butter and filled with tender slices of thin steak alongside lettuce and tomato.
Well-flavoured picanha steak pieces (£5.95) were tender of flesh with a crisp strip of fat. A dusting of savoury manioc flour and a squeeze of lime juice added an extra dimension to the dish.
Finally, a palmito pastel (£3.25) saw a super-light and crisp pastry pocket filled with a soft palm heart paste. A tomato and red onion vinaigrette served on the side was the ideal counterpoint to the sweetness of the palm heart paste.
The dessert of the day was one of the highlights of the meal. A beautifully smooth and fragrant set coconut cream was topped with a golden prune caramel (£2.95). If you’re a fan of panna cotta and creme caramel then this kick-ass hybrid will be right up your street.
Everything we ate at Amazonas was delicious and refreshingly different. Wth a bill for two coming in at £30 including drinks and service, I can see myself becoming a regular.
It’s worth noting they see themselves more as a snack bar than a restaurant. In fact, the kitchen closes at 7pm in the evening and they shut their doors at 8pm. However, I defy you to visit Amazonas and just order a snack - I don’t think I could do it.
Address - Amazonas, 140 Clifton Street, Cardiff CF24 1LY
Telephone - 029 2132 2829