Brixton Breakfasts: Carioca

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By Nikki Griffiths
Being someone who enjoys a spot of food in South London, mixed with the steady migration of friends coming to check out Brixton as their potential “new” alternative to living in north London, I get asked pretty regularly “where should I go for brunch in Brixton?” And I’m glad to have a new recommendation to add to the top of my list.Carioca on Market Row has just launched a range of Brazilian brunch dishes and they couldn’t be scrummier. This vibrant little place is run by two Portuguese brothers – Maurilio and Eusebio (Tony) Goncalves. It’s been open for a few years and was formerly known as Prima Donna, but re-launched as Carioca last year. As well as Brazilian brunch, there’s also a great choice of more egg-and-bacon-themed breakfasts and a handsome looking lunch and dinner menu.A fresh tomato (what a difference that makes!) Bloody Mary tickled my taste buds as I sized up the menu. I went for the Copacobana – a choice which I’m still immensely pleased with. What arrived was a maize muffin base (gluten free, check!) topped with fried plantain, succulent pulled braised beef, a dark and stormy black bean stew and a perfectly poached egg, accompanied by plenty of rocket, sour cream and fresh parsley. All that for £6.95, and it was pulled off perfectly and served with plenty of smiles. The staff at Carioca clearly take a lot of pride in what they’re serving up.I also had the chance to try the Carioca breakfast (pan fried smoked Iberico pancetta, cherry tomato and bell peppers with free range scrambled eggs over a homemade maize muffin) and the açai with granola and banana which I was told (by someone who has recently been to Brazil and fallen head over heels for açai) that it was deliciously authentic. In fact, the owners told us that it has only recently been added to the menu as they have been in search of the best supplier until now.Carioca 2

As if that wasn’t enough, the brothers also let me sample a selection of their cakes – a white chocolate cheesecake, a banana butterscotch sponge and a carrot cake all of which they proudly bake themselves. All three were divine and I recommend that if by any chance you can save space for them – do!

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The Carioca team has put a lot of effort into bringing South Londoners something a little different with this new menu and is perfect for those with a decent appetite and an appreciation of food made with love. I’ll definitely be back.

Nikki has become Brixton Blog’s unofficial Bloody Mary taster and you can see more evidence of her slight obsession on Instagram.