London & South East

Cabana makes its mark

Cabana- Westfield- London

Cabana Westfield White City is the latest site to launch from the Brazilian-themed restaurant chain.

Located on Westfield’s southern terrace, the site provides the perfect escape from the busy Shepherd’s Bush shopping centre and boasts a menu packed with succulent skewers, traditional street foods and a range of sides.

Situated next to Wahaca, Cabana Westfield White City opened in October 2012. The construction programme on the 120-cover restaurant was very swift with work taking place between September and mid-October 2012. Now open, the site has proved a huge hit with diners.

Discussing the concept behind the Cabana brand, Cabana founders Jamie Barber and David Ponte, said:

“Every time we visit Brazil, we discover another reason to love it. There are three things which we think make it truly special: Firstly, there’s the food; it’s always communal, especially when friends gather around the oversized barbeques found on every corner. Then there’s the wonderful eccentricity of the cities, an endless urban collage haphazardly thrown together to create the most humble, but uplifting environments.

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“Finally there’s the unmistakably Brazilian outlook on life ‘tudo bem’ meaning ‘everything’s good’, which is a spirit that is in everyone’s heart, whatever cards you’ve been dealt. It’s a wonderful expression that captures the relentlessly optimistic approach that to us, defines Brazilian life. Everyone has a tudo bem tale, a story that sums up what this spirit is all about and reminds them to stay positive whatever the weather.

“Cabana is our homage to all of these things; our attempt to share a bit of the real Brazil.

“We’ve worked hard to make Cabana feel as true to Brazil as possible and taken some pride in hunting down items that create just the right feel. There are so many good, grass-roots designs in Brazil, whether it’s the innovative approach to up-cycling – recycling so that the final product is better than the original – or the preservation of urban classics, that we want every Cabana to celebrate.”

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Joe Thompson was the main contractor on Cabana Westfield White City, whilst Michaelis Boyd Associates was the interior design architect on the site. To date, Michaelis Boyd Associates has been involved with all of the Cabana sites in the UK and this is an association which the practice hides in high regard.

Discussing their initial involvement with Cabana, Company Director, Alex Michaelis, said:

“We first got involved with Cabana through company co-founder Jamie Barber, after completing work on one of his other restaurants, Hush. Jamie asked us if we would get involved in his new venture Cabana, with the creation of the first site in Westfield Stratford.

“Prior to working on the Cabana brand we took a trip to Sao Paulo to get a flavour of Brazil so that we could bring back as much authenticity as possible.

“Two of the most important elements that we brought back from out trip – which now appear in every Cabana restaurant – are the materials for our banquette seating and the fantastic posters which appear on the walls.

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“The banquette seats are made from recycled jeans, which we sourced from a group of local women in Sao Paulo who made this fantastic material, whilst the posters are commissioned from a small art shop who supplied us with hundreds of posters.

“Every time a new Cabana restaurant is launched in the UK we source these items from the two Brazilian companies and this not only maintains specific design features of the brand, but it also helps support two struggling businesses. This is something which is great for us to be a part of.”

Before work began on Cabana Westfield White City the site underwent a short programme of works to transform it from its previous existence as Del’Aziz, into the third branch of Cabana.

The makeover included the installation of new seating arrangements, including bespoke banquettes and bench seating which was constructed from broken ceramic tiles. In addition, the kitchen area was reworked; whilst lighting designer Kate Wilkins was busy installing a stunning ‘recycled’ lighting scheme which added a very unique element to the site.

In fact recycling, or up-cycling, is something which was a very important aspect of the project.

Alex commented:

“As a responsible architectural practice we always aim to be as environmentally conscious as possible. With Cabana Westfield White City our aim was to retain and adapt as much of the site as we could from its former life. For example we kept the ventilation and air conditioning system pretty much intact and then adapted the kitchen accordingly.

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“Although it might have appeared at first as a slight reworking of the site, it was actually a radical transformation.”

As well as internal works on the project, the external aspects of the site included the installation of a seating area, to accommodate up to 40 guests, and the implementation of associated signage.

Although this is the latest site to launch from Cabana a fourth site is now in the works near St Paul’s Cathedral.

Alex said:

“We really do enjoy being involved with the Cabana brand and we hope that each site is just as successful as the last. The feedback for Cabana Westfield White City has already been fantastic, which is something we are very pleased about.

“The fourth restaurant that is currently in the works will be quite similar to Cabana Westfield White City and will feature a similar design philosophy. Where the site will differ will be in the external seating and lighting schemes.”

Jamie Barber added:

“It’s no secret that we’d like to have about four or five restaurants, so we are looking for more sites. Whilst Cabana Westfield White City is inspired by Sao Paulo, future restaurants may take inspiration from Rio de Janeiro or the other states like Bahia or Para.”

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Cabana Westfield Stratford

Cabana Westfield Stratford opened in 2011 and marked the debut of the Cabana brand in the UK. As the very first site in the portfolio, Cabana Westfield Stratford was the first to introduce the brand’s delicious menu which includes cheese dough balls, chicken coxinhas and the Cabana Brazilian burger; it was the first to showcase a range of drinks, including Caipirinha; and it was the first to make use of jean banquettes and authentic poster art.

Stand-out features of Cabana Westfield Stratford, include scaffold boards on the bar and walls, corrugated iron works in the washrooms and a mezzanine level which provides an upper seating area.

Michaelis Boyd Associates Company Director, Alex Michaelis, commented:

“There is a very strong theme which runs through each site. Although each one is slightly different the Cabana brand is still very recognisable.”

Cabana Central St Giles 

Situated in the new Central St Giles development, in the heart of London, Cabana St Giles is close to Oxford Street, Holborn and Covent Garden. The site was the second Cabana to open in London – opening just a few weeks after Cabana Westfield Stratford – and has proved to be a very popular site for the Cabana brand.

The 150-cover restaurant spans across one level, includes a glazed front and has become a favourite for diners taking advantage of its close proximity to London’s theatre district. The site includes a fantastic mix of features, such as a decorative kite lighting display, whilst an outdoor terrace provides a great place to spend a warm afternoon.

Michaelis Boyd Associates Company Director, Alex Michaelis, said:

“The ceiling in this site is quite high, so instead of attempting to alter this by lowering the existing ceiling we decided to make a feature of it by playing with the height. Working with Kate Wilkins the lighting designer on the project, we decided to introduce a collection of kites, which are lit from behind and appear as if they are flying at different levels.”

Alex added:

“Michaelis Boyd Associate is a 50-strong architectural practice, with a vast selection of restaurants, hotels and residential projects, working across refurbishments and new builds. We have been involved with a number of high-profile projects throughout the UK, as well as across the world, providing services in countries such as Africa, China, America, India and Nepal.

“Our work with Cabana is very important to us. The restaurant industry, like most industries at the moment, is experiencing a difficult time however Cabana continues to do very well.

“Jamie Barber and David Ponte only get involved with new sites if they believe they make financial sense and if their first restaurant is a success. They have more than proved this with the continuing development of the Cabana brand.”

For more information about Cabana, please visit:

DF20 Ltd

DF20 Ltd specialises in the design, supply and installation of commercial kitchens and bars in the private and public sectors. The company has been in operation since 2004 and in this time has worked on many high-profile sites, including Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, the Aviator Hotel in Farnborough, Harrods as well as international installations in Saint-Tropez.

For Cabana Shepherd’s Bush, DF20 Ltd worked closely with the design team to supply and install the site’s catering equipment.

DF20 Ltd Company Director, Michael D’Aubney, said:

“We have an excellent working relationship with the whole project team at Cabana and this is something which is very important to us. At DF20 Ltd we pride ourselves in our ability to provide a direct contact so that the correct person is always available to answer any queries and see the project to a successful conclusion.”

Chapman Ventilation Ltd

Starting life as a general ventilation company in 1967, Chapman Ventilation Ltd. has since become an industry-leading supplier of bespoke, energy-efficient ventilation and air conditioning systems specifically for the UK restaurant industry. It specialises in delivering entire HVAC solutions, from concept to completion, and often in particularly challenging circumstances. High profile clients include Nando’s, Frankie and Benny’s, Hawksmoor and, of course, Cabana.

On every Cabana site so far, Chapman Ventilation has been involved throughout the entire duration of the project, from assessing the site’s suitability through to installation and handover. Cabana’s unique Brasilian-inspired menu relies heavily on an open grill exposed to the entire restaurant, and with back-of-house cooklines and often low-level extracts to balance with the system, each site requires a whole host of tailor-made equipment. In Central St. Giles, for example, Chapman Ventilation installed Electrostatic Precipitation, Ultra Violet filtration and, the piece de resistance, a bespoke front-of-house canopy suspended from a seven metre high ceiling.

Chapman Ventilation Ltd. Head of Marketing, Jenny Handy, said:

“We have over forty years’ experience designing, manufacturing and installing odour control, grease and smoke removal, and kitchen ventilation solutions for a wide range of clients. We’re committed to using the most sustainable products that we can find, partnering with market leaders and sourcing from companies that have a good reputation for sustainability to ensure that clients like Cabana get the very best results.”

CJ Morrison

CJ Morrison Ltd is a suspended ceiling and dry-lining contractor designing and installing bespoke ceilings and rafts for restaurants, shops and offices. The company has been in operation for over 12 years although only recently became incorporated.

CJ Morrison’s clients carry out fit-out works for Wagamama, Aspinal’s Casinos, Yo Sushi, Byrons, Starbucks & many other big name high street brands.

For Cabana restaurants, CJ Morrison installed ceilings and stud partitioning and conducts all plaster works/tape & jointing using in house time served labour.

CJ Morrison Company Director, Carl Morrison, said:

“With Cabana we had to work a little outside the box as the client requirements were not aimed entirely at traditional walls and ceilings, instead everything is exposed creating an industrial theme. On Cabana Covent Garden for instance we installed scaffolding tubes, suspended from the soffit, and this created an interesting element to the site.”

CJ Morrison Ltd offer a wealth of acoustical, thermal fire resisting knowledge that we are always happy to share & recommend or both new & existing customers.

Carl added:

“At CJ Morrison we are proud of the great service & value for money that we are offer. We are always looking for new business within the retail sector of the construction industry & are never put off by a challenging design or installation.”

NFS Hospitality

Established in 1994, NFS Hospitality is a full-service hospitality technology provider working across key areas of the industry, including hotels, restaurants, meeting venues and clubs & leisure facilities. NFS Hospitality has a complete suite of integrated products, which can be used in both front and back-of-house operations and the company works with numerous high profile clients, including Gloucester Rugby Club, Chelsea Village and Hand Picked Hotels.

NFS Hospitality is also the UK representative of Aloha.  Aloha epos is a “best of breed” bar and restaurant software, used by hundreds of users within the UK market, from Giraffe and Nandos, through to Gaucho, Mahiki, Gilgamesh and many more.

Working with Cabana, NFS Hospitality is currently providing the restaurant group with a range of technology solutions, including the Aloha EPOS system.

NFS Hospitality CEO, Luis de Souza, said:

“Cabana is a very important customer for us who we have worked with for the past 12 months. At present, Cabana is a user of our Aloha EPOS software – one of the world’s leading EPOS software systems – and later this year we will be working with the Group to deploy integrated credit card solutions as well as new wireless order taking systems.”

Luis added:

“All of our customers are important to us, but Cabana is particularly important to us because it is a group which is going through some very exciting changes at the moment. Like with all expanding businesses, we have to continually think outside of the box to bring the company new solutions whilst responding to their changing needs as they move from a restaurant group with a few outlets to a restaurant group that has a considerable amount of sites.

“Working with Cabana we are ensuring that the group adopts the latest technology, currently being used by much larger restaurant operators, to help them to grow in an efficient manner. This is our mission as a technology provider.”

Pietra Wood & Stone

Established in 2003, Pietra Wood & Stone specialise in the supply of hard, natural flooring solutions for use across a broad range of projects. From contract developments through to medium and high-end domestic schemes, Pietra Wood & Stone imports and distributes products in addition to creating bespoke designs for its clients.

Pietra Wood & Stone has supplied flooring solutions to many high-profile clients including Byron, Zizzi Ristorante, South Sands Boutique Hotel and most recently Cabana Westfield Stratford.

Pietra Wood & Stone Company Partner, Matthew Weaver, said:

“The brief for Cabana was to provide materials of ‘scaffold-type’ appearance for use on the bar and walls to give an industrial feel to the site.”

Matthew added:

“At Pietra Wood & Stone we have to be flexible, yet at the same time realistic, so that we can advise our clients about what is achievable.

“Companies like Cabana are fast-moving and they require suppliers that have the ability to work within deadlines and who can provide a symbiotic relationship with the contractor. We have a lot of experience, with most team members having at least 20 years in the industry, so we can offer this type of support to take projects forward.

“We have a great attitude to our work, with a very positive approach to our clients’ requests. Sometimes the ideas that we are given are a little complicated, but it is our job to realise and deliver them, to make every effort to achieve each request.”

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