"My Cuban expert friend likes it too, so it must be OK..."Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
Within staggering distance of Waterloo station (and the Fire Station bar which is always heaving) this is a fab place. It really reminds me of Caribbean bars although I haven’t been to Cuba so can’t vouch for its authenticity. But one of my friends is a Cuban expert and she likes it there, so it must be OK.
Sometimes we go there at the start of our evening out when it’s relatively quiet and you can get a table. Younger folk hang out at the bar. The cocktails are to die for – absolutely the best Mojitos. And you can get cocktails by the jug too if there’s a few of you. And you can see how absolutely fresh the ingredients are – I have spent many hours happily watching the bar staff at work.
There’s always Cuban music playing – although sometimes a bit too loudly if you want to chat. The atmosphere is informal, relaxed and suitably cheerful. There are salsa and Latino nights during the week and they have a resident guitarist. And the staff will often dance about in between serving customers.
It’s quite small, which means that it gets rather crowded easily. But I like the fact that the tables and chairs are dotted around the various small areas on slightly different levels – so you find different groups and couples gathering in the various areas up and down the interconnected stairways.
I have eaten there – and the food was good although I regret that I can’t remember exactly what I had. And the choice is eclectic – with nods to Spanish tapas (tortilla and chorizo) and Caribbean fare (plantains, sweet potatoes and rosti) as well as Cuban dishes (Pollo criollos). But there are also some surprises – like Devon crab, fresh tuna and prime British steaks. There’s also a children’s menu but I have never seen kids in there myself.
I’ve heard that the live music is pretty good too – but I have to say that this is one of those places where I pop in for a couple of drinks, rather than stay for the evening. Oh, and there is a door charge for late entry so check that out before you go.
KimT reviewed Cubana on Tue 05 Aug 2008