“ Address: 45 St Martin's Lane / London WC2N 4HX / Tel: 020 7300 5500 „
Asia de Cuba is based in the very posh St Martin's Lane Hotel, part of the Morgan's Group of hotels, and based about 2 minutes' walk from Leicester Square tube station, so in a fabulous location that is easy to find and easy to get to other places before and afterwards.
The restaurant is on the ground floor located towards the back of the restaurant, but easily accessible from the front door.
The layout of the restaurant itself is very clean and neat. At the front is the main reception - a small desk with no room for the staff to be seated, they must stand at all times. Just inside is the bar area which is comprised of narrow high tables (probably about a foot square) for patrons to stand and have a drink - what's with all the standing? There is one sofa area with a sofa big enough for two (maybe 3 very friendly) people and 2 chairs. But other than that, it's all about the standing at Asia de Cuba!
We had arrived about 15mins early for our table so we were shown into the bar area to wait and have a drink. I ordered a pear and elderflower martini and my date ordered an old fashioned. The waiter in the bar area was very friendly, perhaps a little too friendly, but very smiley and happy to take our order quickly and bring the drinks out quickly too. My bellini was delicious, very refreshing, however, my date's old fashioned was very disappointing. An old fashioned typically takes a long time to serve because all the sugar must be dissolved as part of the mixing process. Unfortunately, there was a bit sugary mess at the bottom of the glass and the bourbon used wasn't overly tasty. But we figured that we wouldn't be waiting long for our table because there seemed to be plenty of empty tables and people coming and going quickly.
After 15 mins of waiting the waitress came over to tell us it wouldn't be much longer before we were seated. However, it was a further 15 mins after that, that we were actually seated. Having watched various other groups and couples being seated who came in after us, was really disappointing, and my date asked our waiter whether there was any particular reason those people had been seated before us, despite us waiting longer. We were not given any answer to that question but told that we could speak to a manager about it.
In the meantime we were shown to our little table, we were tucked away into a corner, but that was rather nice from my perspective because it meant we had a little more privacy rather than being in the main open area.
Our tale waiter was delightful, he was very friendly and very knowledgeable. We had only come for dessert, as I had been obsessed with the Mexican doughnuts Asia de Cuba served when we had been to a food festival in the past. So, the Mexican doughnuts were ordered and so was a Cuban Brownie. The waiter informed us that the desserts are rather large and that he would bring us a half portion of each. Which was actually very sweet of him to fill us in, several places would have just brought us the full portion each and charged us the full price knowing full well we wouldn't be able to eat it all.
The desserts were both delicious. Freshly cooked and delightfully warm when they reached us. I cannot complain about the quality of the dessert at all. And the smells of the other foods from nearby tables were delightful.
After dessert one of the managers came to apologise for the fact that we were kept waiting, but could still offer us no actual reason as to why other people had been seated ahead of us. We got the impression that the other people were either regulars or well known on the town as very rich. Perhaps we just didn't look the part!
Food and drink here is quite pricey, but the desserts are worth it in my opinion, as was the bellini - but perhaps stay away from the old fashioned. Cocktails cost between £10-14, main courses are between £25-32 and desserts are £10-13 each. So it's certainly not a cheap night out.
I would eat the desserts here again in a heartbeat, but I was very disappointed with the way we were treated at the start of the night by being neglected. I am of the opinion that everyone's money is the same, and he/she who arrives first and on time for their table should be given their table. My date (who paid for the food and drinks) however, said he would never eat there again under any circumstances simply because of being neglected.