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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Starck Fusion at Asia de Cuba

So, I guess you could say that this was my first proper venture into quality fusion food a few years back and as such, it has stuck with me, leaving me in a state of wanton craving on more than one occasion. I should get it out there sooner rather than later though, as much for your benefit as for mine you see (in an attempt to curb the useless ranting), the Miso Cured Black Cod has penetrated my subconscious and has positively turned me into a dribbling fool! Thank you Asia de Cuba for tantalising my taste buds and allowing me to leer over your treasure chest of a rum bar...

I promise not to rant as forewarned, but with a £33 price tag on the Miso Cured Black Cod, I do rather wish that this I-can't-afford-you restaurant would start dishing out free food on Mondays or something...I mean, noone goes out on a Monday, do they (let's ignore that we're in London eh)?! You need not get too charitable about it either and you definitely don't need to start handing out all of your glorious food to the masses in and around Covent Garden. Just enough for me. Just the Miso Cured Black Cod. Just once a week. And just one portion. That's all I want. Pretty please!

Before you get sick of me and before my musings do genuinely turn into a rant, I really should tell you a little about this place! Located within a trendy 5* luxury design hotel, St Martins Lane screams Philippe Starck and welcomes you with a surreal yet pleasurable assault on the senses! Part of ultra trendy Morgans Hotel GroupJeffrey Chodorow brought his Asian vs. Cuban fusion food from New York to London in the late 1990's and it still seems to be going strong over 20 years later; whether this be because of or in spite of the rarely changing menu I do not know, but please don't ever trash the Miso Cured Black Cod (sorry, couldn't help myself!). It's light wood floors, pseudo-industrial lighting and white washed walls are all very stark and modern, and yet still this restaurant is delightfully warm, inviting and ambient. It's busy even on a Monday (but don't tell anyone, else I might not get my free weekly Miso Cured Black Cod - sorry, again!), and it's home to some of the friendliest staff I've encountered in ages! You can either dive straight in for what you need or want most from the al a carte selection, or you can go for one of the tasting menus, which is as I always say, the best way to enjoy a feasting style dining experience; every dish here is designed to be shared and enjoyed by all at the table (be warned though, so you may not want to share and some simply aren't big enough to share!).

My most recent visit here was my first al a carte experience and it was delightful, but only because I the menu is more familiar these days, thus I know what I want. The Braised Oxtail and Kimchee Steamed Dumplings (£14.50) were possibly not the best texture I've ever had, but they tasted light and flavoursome (for my palette, if a dumpling isn't Cantonese, steamed and sticky, I'm not interested, but that says more about my odd taste than anything); the Honey Rum Glazed Pork Belly (£21) and pan Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops (£16.50) were also lovely, though again not necessarily the best I've ever had. I need not discuss the marvel of the main course, but just in case you've got the memory of an ant, the Miso Cured Black Cod was EPIC! A sublime ending then came with the Mini Mexican Doughnuts, which almost blew me away as much as the cod (I said, almost!). I'm going to Mexico in November and if I don't come back 2 stone heavier off the back of their doughnuts alone, it will be a miracle...

All in all, through the highs and lows, I want this place for the sum of it's parts and that's more than good enough for me. For the first time this year, my photography let me down, so don't let the pictures put you off - if you have the money and can afford the treat, this is definitely worth a try! Now, how can I reach the kitchen to persuade them to feed me Miso Cured Black Cod and Mini Mexican doughnuts every Monday?!

Miso Cured Black Cod, edamame 'fufu' and grilled shishito peppers (£33)
Braised Oxtail and Kimchee Steamed Dumplings with spiced calabaza threads and mango ponzu (£14.50)
Honey-Rum Glazed Pork Belly with plantain maduros, Shanghai bok choi and enoki mushrooms (£21)
Pan Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops with sweet-sou plantain and habanero corn crema (£16.50)
Mini Mexican Doughnuts: sweet brioche rolled in cinnamon sugar and filled with butterscotch sauce

St Martins Lane Lobby
Rum bar!

Asia de Cuba on Urbanspoon
Squaremeal Blogger of the Week - Restaurant Guide Square Meal

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