Just around the corner from Waterloo station, out of sight from the commuting hordes, is Cubana. It dominates much of the large empty square in which it sits and my sister tells me that in the summer, this whole area is filled with cocktail drinkers enjoying the sunshine.
The interior is decked out completely in theme, Cuban flags, pictures of Fidel Castro, guns and cigars. The tables are brightly coloured and the whole effect is buzzing, eclectic and fun.
It’s happy hour when we arrive but by the time we are shown to our table (reservations are a must here btw) it’s 7pm so the 2 for 1 deal is off. The crowds are clearly here for happy hour and they’re starting to depart but the restaurant portion remains busy and so we order ourselves a mojito jug to begin our evening.
We start off with some plantain chips – unfortunately these are soggy. The waitress claims this is usual, but we’ve been here before and that’s just not the case.
The signature dish at Cubana is the Ropa Vieja – a traditional cuban shredded beef dish served with black beans and rice. This was similar to a pulled pork style dish and was rich, simple and tasty.
I choose a chargrilled prawn salad, with the menu claiming that my prawns are marinated in ginger, lime, honey and spices. However, I can detect nothing more than a grilled prawn, which although tasty doesn’t quite match expectation.
Husband has the tuna fishcakes which are highly rated.
The chorizo/ sweet potato croquetas are fantastic, crisp on the outside with a soft interior.
We order a couple of desserts to share but unfortunately I’ve forgotten to photograph these – the coconut mousse is a bit grainy which I’m not a fan of, although I do like the taste. The chocolate mousse is pretty standard and the white chocolate shavings on top lend an additional richness.
The service is distracted here, we often struggle to flag down our waitress, to get water, to order dessert, to get the bill etc. The food is nice (excepting the soggy crisps) and the atmosphere fun. My advice would be to come in and take advantage of happy hour before settling in for a hearty simple meaty meal to set you up for your journey home.