Eating Out: Cubana Smithfield

Friday 4 December 2015 by

Cubana, Smithfield, London, Food, Prawns

Cuban food, when it’s done right, is a brilliant fusion of Spanish and Caribbean. Rich, hearty flavours, tongue-sizzling spice, a celebration of comfort food and festival food. It tastes exactly like you would imagine Cuban music to taste.

Which is why I couldn’t say no to checking out the new Cubana in Smithfield. Promising the delights of Cuba, Cubana already has a spot near Waterloo, offering Cuban street food and tapas, dazzling mojitos and a Latin-American flavoured bakery. The new venue promises the same.

Cubana, Smithfield, London, Food, Prawns

Just across the road from Smithfield market, the new Cubana is a riot of primary colours and Latin-American style. Everything is bright and rich. You walk through to the back, past murals and palm trees, to an open restaurant area, where the food hits the table still sizzling from the pan.

We were treated to a range of tapas and street food – from pollo criollo (chicken casseroled in fresh orange, sherry, onions and garlic, and served with plantain and black bean rice) to pincho de gambas y mango (barbecued skewers of prawns, fresh mango and peppers marinated in guava, ginger, honey, lime juice and spices). The flavours were endless – delicate and sweet like the prawns, or hearty and comforting like the slow-roasted pork, ropa vieja (shredded beef) and sharper-tasting chorizo.

Cubana, Smithfield, London, Food, Chicken, Skewers

To reset the tastebuds, get some of the plantain and sweet potato chips with fresh salsa – and wash it down with a rum-based cocktail or two. You can pick from a variety of menus – from the share-with-all tapas, to filling mains, to fast and fresh street food. All come with a bit of Cuban spirit.

For a gluten intolerant, it’s quite easy to get by (although avoid the tempura batter, for obvious reasons), and the staff were fantastically helpful when they were bringing the dishes out, so I was never unsure. The food itself was delicious – and it was clear to see the chefs were enjoying themselves.

Cubana, Smithfield, London, Food, Pork

I love this little bar restaurant; it offers something so uniquely different, and takes such pleasure in serving good food. Plus, they make the best tasting mojitos outside of Cuba!

Cubana Smithfield is now open, please check the website for more details

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