St Martins Lane exudes an aura of sophistication immediately on entry. They achieve what most hotels and restaurants always aim for but don’t always get there; an effortless atmosphere, which just happens to combine style with luxury and elegance.
Asia de Cuba has established itself as one of the finest fusion restaurants in London, serving a range of Asian inspired dishes with a Latino flair. I was thrilled to be sampling their new brunch menu for two obvious reasons; one, brunch is the best meal of the day (and everyone knows this, hence the outrageous queues you get at some breakfast-focused establishments); you can go sweet, you can go savory, it always almost involves eggs and you can eat pancakes as a main meal. Two, I knew it would involve some incredibly unique food. We all love an eggs benedict but personally I think there’s so much room for creativity in brunch menus and I knew Asia de Cuba was the kind of restaurant to run with this.
On arrival we were offered a variety of different fruit flavoured bellinis; passion fruit, peach and guava were among the purees mixed with prosecco to create this delightful drink. There was a trio of musicians creating sweet Latino music, which set the tone perfectly. The dulcet tones of the female vocalist were soothing and the percussion added an upbeat sound. The dining room was filled with Cuban influences from stunning artwork to vintage cigar boxes and a bar lined with Cuban rum.
We were shown to our table and presented with some crisp plantain and yucca chips, served with a black bean hummus dip. This was followed by the most delicious ceviche of fleshy raw fish with micro herbs and chilies. They were just wonderful little tasters of what was to come.
A wooden box filled with the most incredible array of starters arrived next at our table. A variety of inventive takes on classic Asian and Cuban flavours merged. A shrimp churro was crisp and delicious, ropa vieja spring rolls perfectly combined the Cuban dish of shredded beef with an Asian favourite. There were cute mini Cuban sandwiches, with slow roasted pork, swiss cheese and pickles stacked between two pieces of bread. Chicken stuffed empanadas and a heavenly piece of tender Asian-spiced pork belly were also included.
As part of the brunch offering we were to select a main dish each from the A la Carte menu. I went for the breakfast tortilla, which was a fiery, spicy dish of a soft tortilla topped with black beans, chorizo and eggs, baked in the oven. My friend went for the Mojo Duck Confit which was exceptional. The texture of the duck was like nothing I had ever tasted before, with a crisp exterior and the most tender quality to the meat, provided by the confit method of cooking. It was served on a bed of brown rice with duck’s best friend – orange slices, topped with a poached egg, Thai basil and chilies. It really was an incredible dish, created by a chef who was a master of their trade. We also sampled the crispy calamari salad, which again was lovely.
Having consumed an unholy amount of food, we wondered whether we would in fact be able to fit the Mexican doughnuts in but when they arrived, looking so irresistible there was no question about it. The fresh, warm dough-like balls of deliciousness were dunked in caramel and chocolate sauces and disappeared faster than you could say Homer Simpson. They were heavenly.
By the time we strolled out of Asia de Cuba and St Martins Lane it was well into the late afternoon. Our lazy brunch had gone on for hours and we concluded it was the most delightful way to spend a Sunday. In our overcrowded city of brunchers, Asia de Cuba has pitched their brunch menu exactly right; every dish was stunning and unique. It’s available with free-flowing bellinis, mojitos, mimosas or bloody marys which always go down extremely well.
The bottomless brunch is £48 or items individually priced from the A la Carte menu