Despite all the culinary choices available in town, diners were hard pushed to find food from Madagascar, Senegal or La Réunion – until last year, when Brazil Café opened on Sok San Road.
Serving a range of African, Caribbean and Latin dishes, owners Fred and Angela Breerette also have a wide selection of traditional French-Caribbean flavoured rums.
“My wife’s from Madagascar and I’m a mix of African and French – Mauritania,” says Fred. “My personal culture is Creole, so I learnt all about that kind of food.”
The idea is to be a like a Latin café so basically Brazil does flavoured rum, with maybe 20 flavours, and also different food from Africa, Madagascar, Caribbean and Mascarene, the islands near Madagascar.
The couple concocts dishes made from their own family recipes. Specialties include beef romazava, a kind of meat and greens stew cooked in a tomato sauce, chicken in coconut sauce and pork ravitoto.
“Beef romazava is the number one dish in Madagascar,” says Fred. “It’s made with green leaves. Ravitoto is made from cassava leaves and coconut. We also have pork massalé from La Reunion. It’s a kind of masala and comes from India but they make it in their own way – we do our own mix of spices. Rougail of sausages is made with tomato sauce and a little bit of curry.”
The meat-heavy menu also features chili con carne, lamb tagine, Brazilian feijoada and chicken yassa, a Senegalese dish made with onion, lemon juice and mustard.
The most popular dishes are chicken in coconut sauce, and the massalé, while the preferred rums are passion fruit and ginger.
“We buy the rum, add the ingredients and leave for one month to macerate,” he says. “We brought baobab nuts, cinnamon and vanilla from Madagascar, everything we needed.”
Other flavours include lime zest, mint, cinnamon and four spices – black pepper, star anis, nutmeg and cloves.
Musician and former drumming teacher Fred owns two similar venues in Thailand, and one is also called Brazil Café
On April 4, Brazil Café will host the nine-piece Submarine Brass Band from Paris, in a free concert from 7pm. There will be an all-you-can-eat barbecue for $8.