We shouldn't be surprised to find great cuisine of all corners of the world in London, but what surprised me about Cubana was that it outranked it's own country's cuisine!
Now, before you accuse me of anything, I must admit I am not a Cuban food connoisseur. I simply spent a few days in La Havana some years ago and while I am absolutely infatuated with their music, drinks and culture, as much as I tried the food, it just simply didn't captivate me.
Back to London…cold rainy and unfriendly London, right? Not in Cubana! As we entered the colorful cozy restaurant, we were so warmly welcomed by the staff that the rest of the cold city was behind us as a far away memory and we were promptly surrounded with music, dancing, and delicious aromas that embody one’s every sense.
Mojitos came straight to the table, and with my snobbish "I've had mojitos mixed by an old man smoking cigars in good old Havana" stance, I was ready to criticize. To my surprise, they tasted incredibly refreshing, delicious and more importantly, authentic.
As for the food, and the reason we are all here, flavorful, unique and fresh would best describe our dishes. We ordered everything from croquetas, to platanitos. For our main course we had Ropa Vieja, and slow-roasted Cuban-style pork. Everything came with this magical "Cubana salsa" on the side. You have to be ready for a spicy kick, but just dip everything in this and make your life a whole lot better! We finished a whole bottle of it between the 3 of us and ordered more halfway through our meal. I think the manager was so amused with our fascination that at end of the evening he sent us home with little containers full of the salsa, he really went the extra mile in hospitality and it didn't go unnoticed, so muchas gracias!
We ate to a point of wobbling off our chairs! I wish I had better control of my appetite, and had time for pretty pictures, but this serves as proof as to how good it was!
It is worth noting that there are plenty of good options for vegans and vegetarians, The desert department was not lacking as well. We exerted a bit more self control in this area, and here are some pictures of our delicious choices before they too were promptly devoured.
To top it all and transport us back to the Caribbean island even further, they have live music and free salsa classes! It was a real treat to the end a great evening.
If feeling a little blue in cold London, head over to colorful Cubana on a Saturday night for some salsa classes and shake off the cold while enjoying some Mojitos!