Asia de Cuba: The Relaunch – Glass feasts on fusion food at the newly relaunched Asia de Cuba in Covent Garden’s St Martins Lane Hotel

 

Perhaps fusing the cuisines of Asia and Cuba seems a strange concept – the former so often focused on precision and delicacy, the latter an endeavour in vibrancy and dramatic taste.  But, at Asia de Cuba, the recently relaunched restaurant within central London’s St Martins Lane Hotel, the two complement each other beautifully.
The newly installed chef, Luis Pous, is Cuban, so it stands to reason that flavours and influences from that country dominate the offering. We were particularly impressed by tuna ceviche tacos – the soft, citrusy fish was perfectly offset by the crunch of its surrounds. That was just one of the starters offered to us however, and others, including shrimp churros with a Thai curry dipping sauce, and crispy calamari with sweet, oven-crisp banana chips were equally intriguing.

Asia de Cuba cardAsia de Cuba card

Family-style dining is popular in both cultures, and the restaurant offers plenty of large dishes for those that way inclined. We dug into the gargantuan El Lechon – Cuban-style slow-cooked pork – with vigour; it was lightly spiced and extremely soft, and came with a smorgasbord of sides including fried rice, black beans, aubergine, plantain and spicy salsas. This was an undeniable highlight, with crispy pieces of skin scattered on top for good measure. There are also wok-cooked dishes, which we would also advise sharing – why have one when you can have many? – including scallops, ever so lightly fried with chilli and placed atop a bed of black rice and cauliflower.

Asia De CubaAsia De Cuba dining room

The chef told us many of the ingredients were sourced a little more locally than Cuba – you can get things of the same quality and style in countries like Morocco – apart from the Guava used to make the cheesecake. It was prettily presented in layers, with edible, butterflied flowers on top. This was another high point, though the fried doughnuts with dark-chocolate dipping sauce that followed it were a close rival.

Following the meal, we were ushered into the new bar, appropriately named Blind Spot for its inconspicuous location – it’s hidden to the side of a little tea shop. The cocktails offered within play on this disguise, with tea infusions and colonial-inspired snacks peppering the menu.

by Becky Zanker