Back by popular demand, Asia de Cuba in St Martins Lane has recently re-launched their classic Bento boxes, so of course The Handbook went down to check it out. We arrived on a Saturday afternoon to find the restaurant was quickly filling up, we took our seats, ordered a large glass of white wine and got to ordering.
As is the nature of Bento boxes they are a brilliant way to try a little bit of this and a little bit of that without eating so much you feel uncomfortably full and at Asia de Cuba there is a choice of 3 boxes. The Cuban Box which includes oxtail dumplings, Havana noodles, the Asia de Cuba Salad and ‘Ropa Vieja’ of Duck. The Vegetarian Box includes a Thai salad, marinated tofu, noodles and plantain rice. Whilst the Signature Box which features the restaurants most loved dishes includes a calamari salad, a honey rum glazed pork belly and sweet soy salmon.
We settled for the Cuban Box and the Signature Box and couldn’t get enough of the calamari (although the sesame orange dressing was a little too strong) and the pork belly was beautifully cooked, we also had a bit of a chopstick battle over the last of the Havana noodles – we highly recommend them.
For pudding we opted for the Cuban coffee brownie – what arrived was more of a chocolate fondant pudding than a brownie, it was rich and had a wonderfully intense chocolate flavour – but the Kahlua glaze was overpowered by the chocolate so you couldn’t actually taste the coffee. We also tried the semifrio – a frozen cream cheese custard with tropical fruit and strawberry – passion fruit ice – we were presented with quite a hunk of semifrio, no small portions here and the strawberry and passion fruit ice worked well to add a bit of variety to the dish.
At £12-£15 for a box and £5 for a pudding, the Bento Box menu is extremely well priced and as they are available between 12pm and 4:30pm (4pm on Saturday) they make for the perfect light lunch or pre-theatre supper.