Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Cafecito at Asia de Cuba: where I photobombed the cake stand

I'm a fan of the Morgans Group hotels in London; the Sanderson has a great bar, a nice spa and an awesome courtyard garden whilst St Martin's Lane Hotel has a great location, a decent gym and a nice restaurant called Asia de Cuba.
I haven't had afternoon tea since attending a baby shower at The Delaunay so I figured it was time to call in the girls for some scones and cake. I wanted to try something a bit different from the traditional English afternoon tea service so I booked a table in Cafecito at Asia de Cuba

I also haven't seen my friend P for ages and I'm ecstatic to report that she's now a very proud mum to a cute little baby girl. Don't you think motherhood suits P? She was all aglow when she walked in!
Was finally able give her my long overdue Christmas pressies: a Cath Kidston reversible jacket for baby and Benefit's Luv It Up kit for mummy. "Welcome back to the world of makeup!" Indeed.

Bueno, let's start our tea service. How gorgeous are these Luna & Curious crockery? No floral cups here (thank God).


 Nothing like a box of cigars to remind you of Cuba, eh? 

Our tools and guide for the afternoon were inside the box. Coolness. 
Service is broken down in two separate servings of  the savoury bits and the sweet bits, unlike the traditional service where you get all your sarnies and confectionery in a tiered cake stand. We get two types of tea that would compliment each set, as well as an aperitif and a 'finishing' shot.

When the savouries arrived our server very kindly offered to take our photo. After changing angles, positions and a few blurry and dark shots, she finally hit a good one (or so she said). Ladies and gents, this is how you photobomb a cake stand:

It is a gorgeous, gorgeous cake stand though.
Tier 1: 3-layered smoothie
Tier 2: Cubano pressed pulled pork sandwich with Swiss cheese & ham, fresh summer rolls, chicken avocado spring roll
Tier 3: Empanadas, savoury scones, smoked salmon tart with chipotle hollandaise and quail egg

Aperitivo for the day was a three-layered smoothie of kiwi, strawberry and mango. It was a nice refreshing start. I found it a bit too sweet and decided to use it as a palate cleanser in between bites.

There were three tea options: Traditional Iron Buddha (oolong tea), Dragon Well (green tea), and Bohea Lapsang (black tea).

I chose the Dragon Well tea and it's goooood - light on taste and easy on the stomach. It felt like I was cleansing and detoxing as I ate!

These beef and vegetable empanaditas were my favourite. The pastry is delicious and the filling reminded me of my favourite Jamaican patties back in the Philippines. I wish the Caribbean hot sauce had a bit more of a kick, though!

I had high hopes for this fresh summer roll filled with julienned carrots, daikon, cucumber and green mango. It didn't  move me though and threw me off the fried spring roll which apparently was better.

You don't get fist-sized scones with clotted cream and fruit marmalade, you get mini savoury scones. If you're a fan of herby bread then you'd like this. It wasn't served warm and they were a bit dense but the flavour was quite promising.

This mojito-garlic butter made it all better. Butter... what would I do without you?

There was nothing special about the pulled pork pressed sandwich and I gobbled the smoked salmon tart (giving P the egg, of course) long before I remembered to take a photo. #badbloggerissues

Savouries cleared it was time for chapter two - the sweets! definitely my favourite part of any afternoon tea service!
Clockwise: chocolate chilli cream with pistachio crumble, traditional doughnuts with butterscotch filling, mini key lime pie with merengue and banana spring rolls.

We only had two options for tea to accompany the sweets (they ran out of vanilla black tea): wuyi oolong and lychee red. We all ordered the lychee red which is actually a form black tea. I'm in love with this one. It's naturally sweet and is very aromatic - I can just about imagine making fresh iced tea using this for summer parties.

The key lime pie was... quite nothing like I've tried. The merengue had a marshmallow-esque, pillowy texture and the custard filling was more sweet than tart. It was strange eating this with the same pastry they used for the smoked salmon tart too. Curious...

The banana fritters were nice. Initially I thought the pastry was a bit too thick for such tiny fritter but when I realised how sweet the filling was (bananas, white chocolate and butterscotch) it all made sense.

The star of the show was definitely the chocolate chilli pot with the pistachio crumble. Seriously people, you need this in your life! Smooth, creamy bittersweet chocolate with a hot kick that surprises you a few seconds later. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

Eat it on its own, or smear the cream all over those traditional doughnuts!

We were definitely a bit more curious about the food we had as it wasn't quite the usual tea time munchies you'd expect. I think the savoury selection was a nice change from the traditional offering (cucumber, tuna, ham sarnies... zzzzzz) and the sweet selection wasn't so bad either (that chocolate pot nailed it big time for me). Perhaps everything could be executed a bit better but overall it was a unique afternoon tea experience. 

I really missed my all-butter scones, clotted cream and jam, though.

45 St Martin's Ln, London WC2N 4HX | Phone: +44(0)20 7300 5500
Ave spend pp: £25 for traditional afternoon tea service, £35 for an extra cocktail
Asia de Cuba on UrbanspoonSquare Meal


No comments:

Post a Comment