Cantinho da Maya – London, UK

I love finding little gems in my neighbourhood. Cantinho da Maya is a small Brazilian cafe of sorts selling daily plates of rice, meat and plantains alongside giant picanha sandwiches. Aside from that, sweets such as brigadeiros and snacks like pao de quejo are also sold for quick bites.

First of all, the place is filled with Brazilians which is a great sign for any ethnic restaurant. This little hole-in-the-wall space is definitely one for the locals, and lucky me – it’s right by my home. More or less.

The picanha steak cut is also known as the rump cap in the USA with the strip of fat on top left behind. It’s usually removed or divided by American butchers unless otherwise requested. There is very little fat on this steak aside from the strip on the top. This means that it takes a lot of skill to cook this cut of meat without drying it out as the lean bits aren’t marbled with fat. However, by keeping the rump fat intact, should help render the juices and make this cut a flavourful cut without being tough like an eye round. Some people liken this cut to a sirloin with something extra!

Personally, I learnt of this cut watching Gugafoods on YouTube. If you’ve not come across his channel, the man is a god when it come to dry ageing and grilling. Although he has had some weird dry ageing experiments that are simply rivetting to watch if you’re a foodie. He talked about this in 2017 in this video which I have linked below.

But back to my experience at Cantinho da Maya. I have to say the extensive range of sandwiches blew me away, anything from vegetarian-friendly to absolutely carnivorous.

Cantinho da Maya Review

The sandwiches are absolute value for money – affordable and teeming with lots of ingredients. We chose the Calabrese and the Picanha sandwich from the menu. Both were a meat lovers’ dream! My Calabrese sandwich came between toasted torta-like buns filled with calabrese sausage, a burger patty, cheese, corn, vegetables and ham. I had to clear off all the potato crips on the top by eating them before I took the photo. But that’s how massive this sandwich was! And there was even an XL rang on the menu. Probably not a good idea to eat this on a regular basis for health reasons, but this was like the perfect cured meat ‘burger’.

My partner ordered the Picanha at my urging. And he was not disappointed. The sandwich came topped with a mass of potato crisps but within succulent chunks of picanha steak, a fried egg, cheese and corn sat atop a lettuce leaf that was there just to make diners feel better about themselves (HAHA!).

I would highly recommend this spot in Bermondsey if you are ever in the area for some deliciously Brazilian fare. Next time I am coming back to try the daily plate that features rice and plantains, an egg and meat which includes picanha.


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