Friday, 13 July 2012


It may have escaped your notice, but they are about to hold some sort of sporting event in the East End. And apparently Crystal Palace and its sports centre, have been chosen as a base for the boys (and girls) from Brazil. In order to welcome their compatriots, Marcos & Mariana Camarotte, have just spruced up their cafe at 72 Westow Hill. Welcome to Braziliana.

Although the cafe has only been going for 3 years, this is already the second refurbishment in it's short history. It had scarcely been open 5 minutes back in 2009, when a van managed to plough through the front window into the cafe. Amazingly nobody was killed in the incident, but it almost dealt a death blow to the young business. It was 8 months before its doors would reopen. Today it's a thriving local cafe and grocery, that not only draws Brazilians and Portuguese from far and wide, but also attracts a wide range of locals, keen to try the traditional Brazilian snacks such as Coxinha (chicken in a potato dough), Pao de queijo (a cheese filled bread roll) or for something more substantial, the Feijoada (beans, pork and spring greens) with Cassava chips.

Raised in Sao Paulo, Marcos is descended from Italian emigrees, and with a nod to his roots, he also sells the finest Italian gelato. His father also used to be a chef, so food is clearly in the blood. Settling in Anerley, the Camarottes immediately saw the potential for a different ethnic establishment on the Triangle, but were surprised how slowly the bureaucratic cogs turned as they tried to set up the business. This is one of the chief differences they have noticed between the UK & Brazil, where things tend to happen a little faster. One imagines that the weather probably provides another stark contrast, although it was the local history and community that attracted them to SE19 rather than the climate.

There is a vibe of excitement at Braziliana with the imminent arrival of the Brazilian team, and the cafe's new extended evening opening hours, but it may also have had something to do with the fact that the day of my shoot was also Marcos Camarotte's 40th birthday. Let the carnival begin!

Marcos Camarotte

72 Westow Hill
020 8761 3090

Now open until 11pm on thursday/friday/saturday