ASIA DE CUBA – St Martins Lane Hotel, London 0

May 23, 2009

Was chatting to my cousin today about how her parents are staying at The Clift hotel in San Fran……that conversation reminded me of course, of ADC and so I thought I would dig this post up for old times’ sake…..mmmmmm……Lobster Mash……

Some things in life are just too good be true…. the July sales at Selfridges, a £1 scratchie ticket that wins you £50,  an ice cold coca cola in the middle of the summer heat, loyal friends……. CALAMARI SALAD ‘ASIA DE CUBA’ STYLE!

I am so hyped up that I actually don’t know where to begin…..

Long has this restaurant been one of my favourites in the world. Asia de Cuba (ADC), as you can probably guess from it’s name, is a world-renowned culinary hub that specialises in the fusion of Asian and Cuban cuisines. Both the tastes and techniques of these two fabulous food types are merged together to create a series of mouth watering, show stopping dishes, designed to be shared, and cried over! (obviously with tears of overwhelmed delight!)

ADC, London is one of several Asia de Cubas in the world (how good is that?!) Each one of them features in a Morgans Hotel Group hotel ( and having dined in 3 of these ADC’s , many times over, I can vouch for almost 100% consistency across the board. This review, however, will go into detail just on the London ADC, which I should note, after last night’s meal, is probably the best one…..if I had to choose.

From the interior design to the service to the food to the atmosphere – everything scores 10 out of 10.  Clearly this place is the brainchild of a pure genius. When you pay money to go out these days (gees, I sound 400 years old) you generally expect SOME aspect of the night to let you down….ugly space, rude staff, expensive and tasteless food, you hope that not all of these things happen together, but if one of them does, so long as the other elements are good, you have a pretty nice night. Well here, at ADC, NOTHING is a let down, each component is just better than the next!

As this is a phood blog it’s probably best to stop rattling on about everything else and focus on all of the items that were consecutively shuffled into my mouth. So here goes….

There were 5 people in our party for dinner, and for 5 people the recommended order is 4 entrees, 4 mains and as many desserts that appeal to you at the time! We stuck to this and the following is a guide through our choices….


Calamari Salad ‘Asia De Cuba’: This is one of the signature dishes and for good bloody reason. This refreshing and unique mountain of food comprises crispy calamari, hearts of palm, banana, cashews, chicory and radicchio with a sesame orange dressing. Honestly….need I say more!? The platter (as per the above use of the term ‘mountain’) was HUGE, the calamari – in abundance, the banana – the perfect soft and subtle contrast to the gargantuan crunchy cashews. Yum yum yum x 1 billion!!! DO not attempt to dine in the restaurant and leave this dish off your order. Utter foolishness.

Tempura Shrimp: A big bowl of crispy deep fried shrimp served with delicious black bean aioli, not too spicy but just right jalapeno aioli and gorgeously sweet, sweet chilli sauce. Plenty for everyone to have a few, allowing us each to sample all of the dipping sauces.

Thai Beef Salad: Seared carpaccio of spicy Thai beef with avocado, shredded coconut, orange segments, and Asian greens with a hot and sour dressing. Again, (after writing just the list of ingredients) NEED I SAY MORE?!!! By far the most tasty Thai beef salad I have ever had, and I have had and cooked, many! A huge platter of scrumptious carpaccio piled with fresh greens coated in a delightful and enchanting dressing. Surprisingly stunning. (I only say surprisingly because in general I thought prior to ordering this – what else can one doooooooo with a Thai beef salad, I’ve had so many before blah blah blah…..ha!)

Pan Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops: Sweet and sour plantains, Habanero corn crema. *Breathes deeply* My favourite entrée on their menu. Again – please ensure that if you go to ADC for dinner, this dish is ordered. The platter comprised of scallops the size of my head cooked to perfection – gently seared on the outside and then melting in the centre. HOW DO THEY DO IT??!


Cuban BBQ Chicken: served with Thai coconut sticky rice and avocado cilantro fruit salsa with a tamarind sauce. I could have eaten just a bowl of the rice and cried myself to sleep from pure joy – but no – let’s make this dish better than perfect and serve it with the most succulent chicken I have ever tasted. Crispy on the outside and tender in the centre, a gorgeous combination of flavours that leaves you wanting more and more!

Palomillo of Marinated Lamb: pan seared with sofrito of stir fried peppers, onions, and Japanese eggplant, watercress salad with orange oil. Huge serving, yet again, of very thinly sliced , perfectly cooked lamb. Lovely flavour combo – and rather a light dish in a way – no heavy sauce and the vegetables cooked very gently. Although tasty and pleasing, not a favourite at our table and possibly wouldn’t order immediately again, but by no means ‘bad’ or ‘disappointing’ – just not the fave.

Honey – Rhum Glazed Pot Roast of Pork: This on the other hand is a must order every time. Served with sautéed Shanghai bok choi, fried plantains, and enoki mushrooms. This dish comes to the table as a single pork roast and is pulled apart by one of the waiters, using just 2 spoons, into a million mouuuuuuth watering, juicy pieces of heaven. My husband tapped me on the shoulder whilst I was licking the plate just to remind me that we were in public!

Coconut Mustard Seed Chilean Sea bass: served with a crab corn flan and cilantro chimichurri verduras, jalapeno plum coulis – have I said this already – probably the highlight of the evening!? SOOOOOO FRESH I think it was caught whilst we were having cocktails on arrival, ridiculously ingenious combination of spices – I’m not sure if anyone else on our table tried it as I completely hogged this dish and devoured it within minutes. A star performer!


Ok – well, without question, the desserts at ADC could easily be the single reason why anyone comes to eat here. So, an ADC meal without dessert is like the world without a sun, Romeo without Juliet, black without white, salt without pepper… get the picture. Anyway, after we had polished off every morsel on our plates from our entrees and mains, the 4 others dining with me expressed feelings of complete and utter satisfied fullness. They each said THEY COULDN’T EAT ANOTHER THING, that they were going to explode, that they didn’t want to ruin how they felt at that point etc etc etc. At first I though they must have been kidding but when, one by one, they refused the dessert menu from our waiter, I started to get anxious. But alas, no matter how much I pushed and prodded them, they refused to be enticed. JUST at the point that I was starting to cry, thinking that no desserts were to be ordered on the night, out of the shadows came singing waiters each carrying a dessert with sparklers in them….’’Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you…..’’ – a fellow diner, my cousin, had planned a little early birthday surprise for me (birthday a few weeks away). I was SO DELIGHTED – only the pictures can express my emotions – but you won’t be seeing those! Anyway – let’s take a look at what we finished on…..

Mexican Doughnuts: these little bundles of joyfully sweet brioche are rolled in cinnamon sugar and stuffed to the max with butterscotch sauce. They are piping hot upon arrival to the table and they melt blissfully in the mouth. Don’t worry, there’s a mammoth stack of them so between 5 of us there was at least 2 each!

Bay of Pigs: This banana split, ADC style is the size of a small child. Alone, this dish would have comfortably served 8 for dessert!! Chocolate brownies with both vanilla and chocolate ice-cream, whipped cream, mini marshmallows and crispy waffery delights on top, this plate of food is any child’s dream…..

Coconut Invasion: what is it about coconuts? They probably should have been listed in the above ‘things too good to be true’. Well now, imagine a combination of 7 layers of  coconut flavoured heaven in the form of cake, cream , butterscotch, chocolate and goodness knows what else and then ask yourself what you’re dealing with?? This restaurant has an abundance of dishes that are ‘’reason alone to dine here’’ – this is another one of them.

How in the world I forgot to mention our side of Lobster mash, (that’s right, you heard me, you read it correctly, LOBSTER mash), is beyond me.

In conclusion, some things in life ARE too good to be true – so even if you never hit the Selfridges sales, you never win any cash from a scratchie, you never get the chance to drink a coke in the heat of summer (unlikely, but even if you never do) and you never find a loyal friend,…..MAKE SURE you get the opportunity to shovel as much damn Calamari salad as possible, into your pie hole at least once in your life!

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1 Flavia-ADCbiggestfan-Martins { 05.27.09 at 12:44 pm }

I am far the biggest fan ADC-London has ever had! For so many reasons it would take me ages to point them out… the biggest reasons are: It was the location of my first date with my then boyfriend to be (now) husband, the reason why I spent hrs and hrs listening to my old flatmate (your sis Natalie) talking about the calamari salad, the only restaurant in the world that serves a delicious and no less tonge-melting pork… and of course the selection of deserts they have!!! Everytime I hit London, it is A MUST to go to ADC. Each of us ask for a different dessert and so we all have the pleasure of trying a bit of everything…. what else can people ask for??? This is the only place in earth I eat like a pig and leave without any mad conscious… all worth it!

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