When you hear that a great new Sunday menu is being launched, you tend to expect the same old roast – maybe something exciting has been done with the carrots, or they’ve used sweet potatoes instead of your bog-standard fluffy white roasties, but it’s never too far from the guidelines. We were delighted then, to be invited to a Dim Sum Sunday lunch at Asia De Cuba, where there wasn’t a roast chicken in sight. Instead we sampled a menu of Dim Sum and Ceviche and exotic, fruit-crammed cocktails, whilst be serenaded by a live South American band. Anyone who has been to St Martin’s Lane Hotel will know that there’s no point in us banging on about the venue, it’s great, no one could claim it wasn’t great – it’s stylish and cool and you want to hang out there, even if you pretend you’re too cool for central London. It’s also a perfect distance from the National and Portrait gallery, which, if we hadn’t arrived so blooming late we would have had a lovely Sunday afternoon wandering around.
The Dim Sum Menu is a new addition to Asia De Cuba, varying between good and outstanding. Our favourite was lobster, chive and coriander shu mai, which was delicately put together and much more surprising than your standard dim sum dish, as were the tiger prawn potstickers. We also tried the pork puffs and the miso black cod, and snow pea rolls, which we were in two minds about. Loved by one of us, and not by the other – so perhaps a more acquired taste. All the combinations were well thought out, and a read through the menu highlights the very original qualities of the flavours and ingredients. A selection of their own sauces jazzed things up a bit and gave a kick that’s much more subtle than the usual chilli dipping sauce provided by most dim sum restaurants. We washed this all down with a Dragon’s twist cocktail; a muddle of dragon fruit, lychee and elderflower cocktail, that hit the eyeballs before the mouth for it’s utterly alcoholic pungency. Not a problem in our books when it comes to Sunday lunch. We followed this up with a palate-cleansing selection of four ceviche dishes, curry Kingfish with passionfruit, prawn, snapper and watermelon, salmon and avocado with spicy coconut milk, and grouper and seville orange.
Asia De Cuba always hits the nail on the head with ceviche, with each dish entirely individual, fresh-tasting and no frills. The banana crisps accompanying them added a solid crunch to cut through the moistness of the dish and acted as a perfect chaser to the heavier dim sum. Feeling a little too light and heathy after this, we decided to follow it all up with a plate of Mexican Doughnuts; perfect squishy butterscotch-filled balls of brioche, which also swam in butterscotch and were loaded with cinnamon sugar. As we wiped the sticky mess of butterscotch from around our mouths and finished it all off with a pot of Cuban Tea (peppermint, spearmint, lime leaves, chilli seeds and red peppercorns), we decided there might be something in looking outside of British cuisine for Sunday Lunch more often.
The Dim Sum Sunday Brunch happens very Sunday at Asia De Cuba, 45 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4HX from 12pm until 5pm.
For more information [click here]
Words by Emily Steer.