It’s impossible not to have a good time at The Cuban - and that’s not just because of the quantity of rum being consumed. It really does bring the spirit of Havana to Camden, with a cocktail bar serving up the most delicious mojitos, a dancefloor heaving with salsa-dancing locals and an upstairs restaurant plating out tasty tapas dishes and moreish meaty mains.
Camden’s newest - and coolest - haunt wouldn’t look out of place in Cuba, with whitewashed open doors and a big outside area filled with palm trees, long sociable benches and a warm glow from outdoor heaters. The inside is just as authentic, with brick walls, colourful art and the Cuban flag flying from the rafters.
On the ground floor you’ll find the long-stretch cocktail bar and dancefloor and upstairs you’ll find a spacious restaurant. We went for drinks and a snack so decided to sit downstairs in a sociable booth. (There was also a traditional Cuban band playing and the dancefloor was already starting to fill and we wanted to soak up as much of the atmosphere as possible.)
Our booth was on a raised area and surrounded by prison style bars, which made us feel like we were having our own private lock-in. A young waitress greeted us smiling almost immediately and returned in record-timing with a bucket filled with ice cold beers. A glass of lime and lemon segments was a nice touch.
We weren’t that hungry so opted for a few tapas dishes to share. The pan-fried chorizo in a velvety rich red wine sauce was a real treat and we mopped up every last bit of the sauce with some rather tasty fried plantain and sweet potato crisps. We also tucked into some crunchy calamari and crispy whitebait which came with a garlic mayonnaise and a lemon aioli. The star of the show for us though was a delicious Spanish green pepper dish. When the dish arrived we played pepper roulette as some were eye-wateringly spicy while others were mild and delicious - lots of fun! We finished our nibble marathon with something sweet: fried tortillas, lightly dusted with cinnamon sugar and drizzled in honey with ice cream and orange zest - very tasty.
If you felt like something more substantial there’s a lot on the menu to satisfy: whole Tilapia marinated in lemon, garlic & sea salt, lightly fried until crispy is a beautiful fish dish and it’s served with authentic rice and black beans, there’s a tempting grill section offering steak and burgers.
Post meal we had a couple of rounds of delicious mojitos to really get into the spirit. The Cuban stocks over 100 hand-picked rums (they’re the largest stockists of rum in the UK), from Sailor Jerry to Havana Club 15yo, as well as a huge range of other drinks and cocktails. We stayed to watch the band and have a boogie and will definitely be coming back! There’s something on every night of the week, from salsa dancing classes and comedy nights, to DJs and live bands.
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