Asia de Cuba re-launches under creative direction of Cuban-born Executive Chef Luis Pous.
Sophisticated, whimsical and above all, fun, the legendary restaurant Asia de Cuba will reopen its doors at the end of April 2015 offering a revamped menu in a newly designed space at its longstanding home in London’s iconic St Martins Lane.
Chef Pous, who grew up and trained as a chef in Cuba, intertwines his heritage and experience with Jeffrey Chodorow’s original vision for Asia de Cuba. Havana is home to one of Latin America’s oldest and largest Chinatowns; the new menu represents Chef Pous’ interpretation of what Asian-influenced Cuban food would be today if Cubans had been able to innovate and evolve their cuisine over the past 50 years, when they did not have access to the range of global ingredients now available to the rest of the world.
The menu consists of a number of sections, including: Ceviches, Small Plates, Salads, Wok, and Plancha. Chef Pous’s signature dishes include Tuna Ceviche with seared foie gras, Asian pear, malanga chips and red onion; Chicken Chicharrones that come two ways: honey soy glazed or “tradicional” with onion mojo; and Shrimp Churros that combine the flavors of Cantonese shrimp toast with the presentation of the familiar Cuban dessert. Asia de Cuba classics take on a new life, such as Tuna Pica, a tuna tartare, picadillo-style, in a shell of crispy wonton with avocado ceviche; and the famous Calamari Salad with banana, cashews, chayote and fresh hearts of palm.
From the Wok (stir-fried) and Plancha (prepared on the flat top) sections, there are dishes such as Cumin Dusted Tuna with white bean purée, chorizo salsa, tatsoi and garlic sesame vinaigrette; Chili Rubbed Scallops with black rice, black beans, roasted cauliflower and Japanese aioli; Mojo Duck Confit with brown rice, orange, Thai basil, Thai chili and a poached egg; and Seven Spice Half Chicken with snow peas, shiitake mushrooms and creamy congri. The Platos Grandes include a large format style Lechon (suckling pig) with a variety of accompaniments, Chef Pous’ take on a traditional family feast served on special occasions; a Barrio Chino Steak accompanied by hearts of palm and edamame salad; and Pescado a la Parrilla, a whole grilled fish for two.
Desserts include Guava Cheesecake with coconut tuile; Thai Coconut and Lemongrass Flan with honeydew melon and caramel; and Arroz con Leche topped with ginger crème brûlée.
The cocktails, built on classic formulas, draw inspiration from Asia and Cuba and mirror the approachable and tropical nature of the food. The Patong Palmer is a riff on an Arnold Palmer, made of Thai iced tea with lemon, aperol and coconut milk. Floradora on Holiday has gin, hibiscus, lime and fresh ginger soda. And of course, there are Cuba Libres and Mojitos made with freshly extracted sugar cane juice, and the beloved Asia de Cuba Mambo King.
It’s been awhile since we’ve visited Asia de Cuba but we are looking forward to going back!