A palatable wonderland of Chino-Latino persuasion describes the stunning fusion of two of the world's most fragrant cuisines. Asia De Cuba plates up one of a kind dishes for a night spent in an edible haven of oriental and South American foods. Hint: this is going to be gooood.
After walking through the grand hotel lobby, you’ll be greeted and taken to your table in Asia de Cuba. The restaurant oozes opulence and sophistication decorated with marble topped tables, polished silver cutlery and colonial printed chairs. Columns are stacked with vintage books, the colourful and tattered spines adding to the rich ambiance and character of this concept eatery. There’s old radios, retro TV screens and black and white portraits adorning the walls harking back to an 80s cubanista culture. Old meets new with an air of exotic flavour here; everything is crisp, clean and white punctuated by varnished woods, lush green shrubbery, leather sofas and textured upholstery to create a space of contemporary cool and original South American style.
I hope you're not hungry because you're about to get some serious food envy. As the name would suggest, the food is an Modern fusion of Asian and Latin American cuisines paired in such a way that the spices, marinades, textures and tastes all compliment each other to create an array of diverse and distinct flavours. After consulting the expertise of our waitress, we went ahead with a strong game plan of 2 Ceviches, 2 Small plates, 2 Planchas and 2 sides. Go big or go home, right?
First up, the Ceviches. Now, if you’re new to ceviche, listen up and if you’re a pro player, pay attention. A traditional dish with origins from Central and South America, Ceviche is normally a raw fish cured in citrus juices and/or spices. Opting for the Scallops at £14, this incredibly fresh and delicate fish was served gourmet on a bed of grapefruit, topped with pork crackling and dashed with aji panca (Peruvian chilli pepper). Coming together, this was a beautifully moreish mouthwatering experience. Next was the Calamari at £10 (which was actually cooked) - a whirlwind of fish and tomato confit with an Asian kick of ginger chimichurri.
The Casabe Cakes small plate (£12) was a whistle stop tour of oriental pop and South American snap. Guava bbq shredded pork topped with fresno pepper and onion mojo (pickled onions) sat on a kind of cake version of a tortilla. This little trio knocked tacos right outta the park. Then we tucked into the Ropa Vieja Spring Rolls (£12); a modern take on your traditional Asian spring roll offering, filled with slow braised short rib and sweet and sour peppers. Crunchy, meaty and wrapped in succulent flavour.
Now, onto the stars of the show - the main dishes. If you’re a newbie to the Swordfish (£29) game like myself and my chum were, then let us tell you it’s one beautifully delicate yet dense piece of fish. Best described as a 'steak of the sea', it came served on a bed of fried veg, yuca dumplings, bok choy and toasted garlic floating in a spicy shrimp coconut curry broth. This dish really epitomises the standard of finesse and culinary craft in combining these global ingredients. For myself, I went for the Ginger & Papaya marinated Palomilla - essentially an 8oz flat iron steak with tatsoi (an Asian herb that has made it in the North American cooking scene), pickled vegetables and thai chili mojo. Never have I seen so much colour on one plate. Perfectly complimented by the punchy marinade, the meat was cooked just to taste - pink in the middle - making for one tenderised mouthful of juicy steak. This paired with the Yuca Fries side (less fries more chunky chips) was an exotic variant on the tired steak and chips standard.
Even though you're dining in a sizable room, the atmosphere exudes a warm, intimate air - a perfect date night set up or special for your birthday celebrations. Our service was personal, friendly and utterly impeccable with suggestions on dishes, explanations on ingredients and refills of drinks without having to be prompted. Asia de Cuba is all about indulgence and with a menu designed to be shared and tried together it makes for one edible opulent experience.
Traversing the culinary tapestry of Asia and South America - Asia de Cuba is a masterpiece of Latino ingredients, oriental flavour and exotic accents that create one ultimately original food narrative. Most likely one of your more indulgent spends, if there's anywhere that's going to be worth the extra dollar, it's this place. Pushing the boundaries on traditional dishes and changing concepts of fine foods, Asia de Cuba left us stunningly satisfied.