Yeah, I know, I’ve lied to you again. I’m a terrible human being. I promised you recipes and once again I’ve failed you. I’m sorry. But wait, don’t go away! I’ve got something awesome for you! And as I write this I’m in the process of putting together some blueberry cream cheese muffins, so you KNOW that the recipe for those will come soon (incidentally, Monet? These muffins were inspired by you!) and I promise I’ll get working on those recipes I’ve got in the pipeline.
I kinda have to, anyway, because I’m starting to plan recipes and ideas to co-write a cookbook. Yeah, you read that right. I’m going to keep details under wraps for now, but promise when things are a little more fleshed out I’ll keep ya in the loop. But that’s pretty exciting, eh?
Anyway, Asia de Cuba. Maybe you’ve heard of it. I hadn’t, but that’s because I’m not too clued up on the ‘hip’ and ‘trendy’ places to eat – isn’t that kinda silly of me? As a foodie I should really be down with the cool kids, but I’m a little slow on the uptake, especially when my brain is swimming with the prices of baby-related items (Baby Dior plastic bottle, 150ml: £17.99) but still, better late to the party than never arrived.
Asia de Cuba is almost too hip for me. They boast an Asian inspired menu with a Cuban twist and are located just round the corner from London’s Leicester Square and literally a teeming hotspot for celebs (as we left we passed X-Factor famed boyband JLS on their way in, being snapped by paparazzi as they exited (initially I wrote ‘excited’ here – ironic) their blacked-out SUV and when my brother said, “look, it’s JLS” I said (very, very loudly and as one of the members was passing me), “Who the heck are JLS? Actually, I don’t care”). I felt severely underdressed, hot and flustered, having arrived after a bit of a hellish journey straight from work and was prepared to be snubbed by the trendies surrounding me.
Even the bar was too trendy for me. Luckily, the staff are lovely. You would expect them to be maybe a little snobby or too-cool-for-school, but actually they were extremely accommodating and efficient. We even had a bit of World Cup chat with our waitress.
The decor is waaay trendy. Single lightbulbs cascade from the ceiling to hover over each table. Brother had a slightly pensive moment as we waited for our food.
He’s single, ladies… :D
I kicked things off with a Lychee & Elderflower Collins which was very heavy on the gin-side, and then our food started to arrive. Warning: portions are huge. Seriously. They recommend that you order a couple of dishes to share – don’t try to finish off a platter by yourself, you’ll probably die of indigestion (although you may die very happy…).
We kicked things off with Crab Croquetas with a jicama, mango, green apple and mirin infused slaw, roasted red pepper remoulade and a chilli ponzu dipping sauce; and Thai Beef Salad which consisted of Seared carpaccio of spicy Thai beef with avocado, shredded coconut, orange segments and Asian greens in a hot and sour dressing. The Croquetas were okay, a little bland for my taste, but the slaw was fantastic. So refreshing with a little bite. The Thai Beef Salad, on the other hand, was lovely. I particularly liked the crispy bits of wonton skin on the top – pretty sure I gobbled those down by myself…
Next up, our mains. Palomillo of Marinated Lamb which was pan seared with a sofrito of stir-fried peppers, onions, and served with a Japanese aubergine and watercress salad with orange oil. The lamb was lovely, maybe a little overcooked, but it had a very strong coriander paste all over it which kinda ruined it for me.
The Miso Cured Black Cod, on the other hand, was one of the best things I think I’ve ever eaten in my life. Now stop. Seriously, stop everything you’re doing. Just read this: miso cured black cod with a cuban black bean and edamame bean salad & tempura shisito peppers. The cod was so beautifully cooked, it flaked apart at the slightest touch and it was so moist and amazing. If you order one thing, order this. If you order one thing in your ENTIRE LIFE: order this. I’m not even joking. Asia de Cuba has ruined me for any other cod dish EVER. Now you may continue doing whatever it was you were doing (just try to concentrate on anything else after I told you about this cod, seriously, I DARE YOU).
We tied everything together with the yummy Coconut Sticky Rice. Yummy, that’s all I gotta say.
Overall, very tasty times and I don’t just say that because the entire experience was enhanced by being given a brand-spanking-new iPad by Papa Lee as a graduation present. Can you say: bow-chicka-wow-wow? More on the fun I’m having with that little baby later. You should check out St Martin’s Lane regardless. It is a little pricey, you might have to scrimp and save a little, but I’m telling you the black cod is worth the trip. All of you in America and around the world? Plan this restaurant into your next trip to London (and book an extra place at your table when you come so I can come with!). Also, they have super interesting decor outside: some of the chairs are garden gnomes, some are giant chess pieces, and some are giant gold teeth. I wish I was joking.
Asia de Cuba
45 Saint Martin’s Lane
Breakfast 7 AM-11 AM Daily
Brunch 11:30 AM- 3 PM Sat & Sun
Lunch 12 PM-2:30 PM Daily
Dinner Mon-Wed 5:30 PM-12 AM
Thu-Sat 5:30 PM-12:30 AM
Sun 5:30 PM-10:30 PM
020 7300 5588
Right, back to those muffins. Until next time – peace and love.