Within minutes of arriving at Asia de Cuba, the central London eatery specialising in Chino-Latino cuisine, our waiter brought us a Bellini to commence our “Bottomless Cocktail Brunch” experience. It would be the first thing to touch my stomach since dinner the night before, but I needed some help in opening my mind to the fusion style menu. It’s not that I don’t like Chinese or Cuban food individually, it’s just a term that I’m suspicious of – after all, all food is fusion, just look at fish and chips – but I was willing to give it a go.
We started with plantain and malanga chips with black bean hummus, followed shortly after by a cigar box of guava and cream cheese pastelitos, shrimp churros, mini Cuban sandwiches, chicken chicharrones and ropa vieja spring rolls.
For the main we chose the breakfast tortilla; the crispy calamari salad with banana, chayote, cashews, hearts of palm and orange-sesame vinaigrette and the mojo duck confit with brown rice, orange, basil, chilli and a poached egg. If this wasn’t enough, there was the option of unlimited Mexican donuts, pleasant enough to linger over with a coffee. The menu was a fun break from the usual brunch options even if the robust Latin flavours overwhelmed any of the more delicate Asian accents.
A highlight of the visit was endless stream of cocktails, with the option to make your own Bloody Mary at the bar, rendering you unable to do anything productive with your day, but what else are Saturdays for?
Brunch is served Friday – Sunday, 12-2.45pm. The Bottomless Brunch for £35 includes unlimited cocktails, starters and a choice of one main course from the a la carte menu. The Premium Bottomless Cocktail brunch for £45 includes a champagne upgrade. Another possibility is the Cuba Roast Upgrade for £10 extra per person.
45 St Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4HX; 020 7300 5588; asiadecuba.com
Tenderstem Scandi open sandwich
Brunch like a champion with this Scandi-inspired smorrebrod recipe. The Scandi sandwich is all about going topless, stacking a delicious combination of avocado, smoked salmon and steamed tenderstem broccoli on a slice of wholesome dark rye or pumpernickel. This is guaranteed to get your day off to a delicious start.
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins
Approx. 120g of tenderstem broccoli
50g creme fraiche
2 tbsp fresh chopped dill, plus extra to garnish
2 tsp horseradish sauce
2 slices of dark rye or pumpernickel bread
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
100g smoked salmon
Small bunch of watercress
Lemon wedges and freshly ground pepper to serve
Place the broccoli in a steamer and steam for 3-4 minutes.
Mix together the creme fraiche, chopped dill and horseradish sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Lightly toast the rye bread or pumpernickel.
When you are ready to serve, divide the creme fraiche, horseradish and dill mixture between the two slices of toast and spread evenly to cover. Arrange the avocado slices on top and then add the smoked salmon slices.
Top with the lightly steamed tenderstem broccoli, a few sprigs of watercress, dill and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
For more tenderstem recipes, visit tenderstem.co.uk
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