Misguidedly, Cuban cuisine is often expected to be out of this world exciting – in reality, although delicious, it is predominantly rice and beans, with some lean meats and tapas on the side. Revolucion De Cuba manages to capture the key elements, and enhance them for the ever curious Europeans. By expanding their culinary horizons, the chefs at Revolución De Cuba create a hybrid Cuban, Spanish and Caribbean inspired menu, with a smattering of Mexican for good measure. The tapas and meat dishes seem to be particularly strong, and the enthusiasm of the chefs definitely comes through in a number of flavour combinations.
We were instantly greeted with an array of new and improved tapas dishes to dig into. The Cauliflower Wings, served up with a creamy goat’s cheese and honey sauce that is out of this world, and the supremely succulent Glazed Chicken with Romesco made a particular impression. It was the creativity of the sauces that really stood out, and the juiciness of the chicken was a surprise for someone who usually finds chicken dishes to be bland (I’ve raved about my conversion all week!). The nachos, however, deserve their own special mention. I have never previously seen a chef take so much pride in their guacamole recipe – and with good cause. Each component comes through, making for a heavenly experience (even for the avocado haters like myself).
However, not all of the new additions were as successful, and a number of mains seemed to lack character. The vegetarian Aubergine and Artichoke Paella left a lot to be desired; despite its spicy aroma and distinctly Asian influence it still came off a touch bland. The chicken salad, although fresh, also lacked distinctive flavour.
The chicken salad
Having said that, the mains were well portioned and some were as tempting as the tapas. The beef skewers were succulent and tender, and the Cauliflower Steak came under a sauce similar to the chicken tapas, which worked equally well for the main. The Flaming Albondiga, a burrito with mixed meat and tomato rice was indeed flaming hot, and delicious! Who knew that rice could pack such a punch?!
The Flaming Albondiga
Moving onto the desserts, and beginning to feel my first cocktail, I was unprepared for the delight ahead. Sweet nachos! Tortilla, fried and dusted in sugar, covered in whipped cream and berries! The second dessert we sampled, the molten chilli chocolate, was if anything even better! The chilli worked really well with the chocolate, giving it nice, but not overpowering warmth. Having both together worked very well as they’re rich in different ways, and the flavours complimented each other perfectly.
But let’s get down to business – the cocktails are undoubtedly the main attraction! It is a well known fact that rum cocktails taste of summer and happiness, and this could not be more true of the new additions to Revolución De Cuba’s cocktail menu. The Solero tastes exactly as you would expect it to (only better)! It’s absolutely criminal not to like Solero ice cream and although it does seem like an odd choice for these brutal winter months, it instantly made me feel like I was on holiday in the sun. The Jamaican Me Crazy, accompanying the tapas, was a sweeter and fruitier take on the classic mojito, but the pièce de résistance was the Ruby Punch. Although the cocktail itself was nothing to necessarily write home about, combining fairly simple flavours of cranberry and Ting, the elephant mug is a different story. Made from using Ceylon Arrack (a 100% natural spirit distilled from the sap of the coconut flower), proceeds from the cocktail go towards helping care for Ruby and other orphan elephants in Sri Lanka. So now you get to drink from an adorable mug and have a feeling of self-satisfaction to ease your hangover the next day. For research purposes we also tried the Damson in Distress (which is indescribably delicious), the Raspberry Colada (which comes with maracas), and the Mad Hatter Tea Pot.
The warmth and vibrancy of Revolución De Cuba, with the live music and stunning Cuba inspired decor is endlessly inviting. The attention to detail is in absolutely everything, from the gorgeous floor tiles to the summer feel of their cocktails. As the evening set in, the Motown and Latin music set the scene nicely and enhanced the sensation of being on holiday. Although some of the food lacked authenticity and we could still tell that we were in a Revolution chain bar, the relaxed atmosphere, the friendly service and the constant supply of rum did make me long to return to Havana.