“We’ve chosen a beautiful location that will incorporate our first beach club, making it the perfect hangout for day and night.” Jeffrey Chodorow, Asia de Cuba
WOW! That’s all I have to say about the newest Abu Dhabi hotspot Asia de Cuba, well actually five words OH MY GOODNESS, WOW FACTOR! It’s no secret we are completely and utterly spoilt for choice here in the UAE with top-notch fabulous restaurants, bars and lounges in fabulous locations and you become blasé, then we walked into Asia de Cuba and we were wowed all over again!
The up-scale Asia de Cuba is making its debut in the Middle East, with its first offering opening in Abu Dhabi last month. Located at the fabulous Nation Riviera Beach Club on the Corniche, part of the St. Regis Abu Dhabi hotel, the concept is a unique mix of Chino-Latino cuisine and it’s definitely something new and exciting for the capital. As if a beachside address was not enough the stylish restaurant, lounge and beach deck offers guests a stunning location both during the day with its views across the Arabian Gulf and at night it comes alive against an illuminated city skyline. We are very fortunate in the capital to be the first to experience this exclusive new menu (first location worldwide with an outdoor terrace too) ahead of the New York Branch opening very soon, the London establishment under refurbishment and the newest Dubai branch opening at DIFC later this year.
This is without any shadow of doubt the hottest new address in the city right now, offering diners and drinkers a one-of-a-kind location to hangout whether it’s in the ultra chic lounge bar, the contemporary upscale dining room or the uber cool large beach deck area with a centralised funky bar (I felt like we were in Miami or The Florida Keys) surrounded by private cabanas. Our evening started at the vibrant and colourful lantern illuminated outdoor bar with some delicious cocktails and a selection of meat, fish and vegetarian canapés, while the very friendly and approachable staff mingled with the guests.
While sipping on a rather delightful ‘Floradora on Holiday’ Cocktail (gin, hibiscus, ginger soda and fresh lime) the other half and I met the award-winning Executive Chef Luis Pous and I can honestly say he was the most humble man. He chatted freely about his journey from growing up in his native Cuba, working on an exclusive island in the Keys and his progressive journey with the Asia de Cuba brand. Now Miami based, he has developed the new exclusive menu taking popular Cuban dishes and adding his own twist as well as developing new dishes combining elements of Asian and Cuban delivering a menu full of concentrated flavored and imaginative dishes.
The elegant restaurant, full of aesthetically pleasing design features has a striking and impressive white exterior and a luxurious interior with leather booths, embossed pillars, painted ceilings and funky lighting and textiles offering diners not only a meal but an all round experience. Along with all the splendour is a full and varied menu of superb cross-cultural influenced food that has its roots in Havana and the Asian influence on Cuban food from El Barrio Chino de la Habana (Havana’s Chinatown), one of the largest and oldest in Latin America.
Moving into the gold accented dining room, we were hosted through the meal by the very charming Nick Fielding, Director of Operations and Chef Pous, who visited every table explaining all the food as we were presented with platter after platter of delectable sharing dishes. Every dish was a culinary assault on our taste buds with delights such as ten varieties of ceviche (raw fish cured in citrus juice for all those who like me didn’t know), as well as a vegetarian Mushroom ceviche with ginger, jalapeño and snow peas.
The very popular Rocoto Miso Glazed Black Cod with vegetable escabeche and avocado poblano purée was devoured along with Shrimp Churros (a savoury take on the usual sweet donut treat) with coconut dipping sauce, Spicy Lobster Sofrito (with Chef Pous signature Sofrito sauce), Wagyu shredded beef (Ropa Vieja) empanadas for the meat eaters and a black bean and plantain variation for us veggies.
There was Cumin Roasted Lamb with maduros, yuca, black beans and mojo chino, a tasty Seared Mushrooms with edamame fufu, ginger chimicurri and miso, Seven Spiced Roasted Chicken with sweet plantain, black bean congri, manchego and shiitake and the list goes on…..check out the full menu here
I think you can safely assume that I really enjoyed my visit to Asia de Cuba (we left very full and happy) and it goes straight to the top of my list for a great night out and I will be taking all our future visitors there. We tried so many dishes that I can’t share them all with you here so don’t take my word for it, grab some friends and head down to the Nation Riviera Beach Club without delay to experience the ambiance and awesomeness for yourself. Whether you fancy drinks at the lounge bar, sipping cocktails on the beach deck, feasting on nibbles from the bites menu while taking in the view, relaxing in a cabana listening to the Cuban music or dining in the restaurant, Asia de Cuba has it all, day and night.