Asia de Cuba

Chic Asian-Latin fusion in London’s West End

Where? 45 St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4HX (020 7300 5588)

What’s the occasion? A night with the girls. Pop in for wind-down cocktails after work combined with share-easy food, or get the party started on a Saturday night with champagne bellinis and a full dinner spread. Located within the stylish St Martin’s Lane Hotel, the restaurant’s New York counter-part recently featured in the Sex and the City movie, so it a feminine trend-spot, with cute dresses and heels obligatory.

Where do we start? Carrie Bradshaw-style, with a cosmopolitan and enamame beans. There’s also a full a la carte menu featuring no less than twenty-eight appetizers and entrees, from pan-seared ahi tuna to the famous miso cured black cod – a dish diners around the globe are said to travel far and wide for. We sampled a cross-section of what was on offer by choosing two of the six new Bento Boxes available before 7pm. We’d suggest one of these babies per person (although the joy is in the swapping), each containing a six-strong array of items on the menu.

If not cocktails, then what? We found a mojito hard to resist, but there’s also a list of top-notch wines, which bubbly staff are all too happy to recommend.

Can we afford pud? An entrée can set you back anything from £22 (for tofu, mind!) to £69 (that would be the prawns). But the boxes are reasonable, from £22, and perfect for pre-theatre dining. Desserts range from Mexican doughnuts to Asian pear bread pudding – not your usual local oriental buffet fare! We were given a mini-version of every dessert on the menu (this was not a day for dieting). The Cuban coffee brownie, the five-spice flan… they were all amazing.

Overall thoughts? The décor was a bit try-hard, with uber-arty light bulbs dangling in your eye view and book-cased pillars throughout. But the atmosphere was buzzy, and if you stay long enough to get over the 15% service charge, why not head on to A-list hangout Bungalow 8, just next door?

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