Last night, The Handbook was treated to a preview of the new Asia de Cuba menu at the St Martin’s Lane Hotel. Headed by Chef Luis, this innovative menu fuses the unlikely pairing of Asian and Cuban cuisine, with some very tasty results!
The evening began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, including savoury churros and red ceviche. A special mention must go the super attentive and professional serving staff, who were at the ready with napkins for me, after I’d stuffed my face with a tasty churro. We also had a fantastic waiter at our table, who filled my glass before it had a chance to get empty (although this did lead to a slightly tipsier train ride home than I’d anticipated).
The first course included a scrumptious ‘Icy Hot Salad,’ which combined the unlikely, yet totally flavoursome duo of shrimp and watermelon. Music fans will recognise that this tropical fruit was endorsed by none other than Beyoncé in that sultry video for Drunk In Love, so if it’s good enough for the queen of RnB, it’s definitely good enough for us. The highlight of the second course was the spiced chicken, which was Chef Luis’s own version of a typical five-spice blend that incorporated the traditional Cuban flavours of cumin and annatto, giving just the right amount of spice.
However, as any sane person knows, the standout feature of every three course meal is the dessert. Asia de Cuba did not disappoint with a light and fluffy Guava cheesecake (enough to convince us that we could eat cheesecake without feeling guilty) and some addictive Mexican donuts, filled with a butterscotch sauce. I’ll refrain from commenting on how many of those I ate, but it’s safe to say I enjoyed them.
Initially, I couldn’t see how blending Asian and Cuban cuisine would work, but Asia de Cuba’s new menu pioneered by the very friendly Chef Luis, proves the old saying that opposites certainly do attract (and make for some damn good dishes!)
Image: Evan Sung