Located just off Millennium Square near Bristol’s scenic Harbourside, you’ll ﬁnd The Cuban, a vibrant bar and restaurant aiming to bring the true spirit of Havana to the heart of Bristol. Inside, the exposed brick walls and rustic wood panelling channel the ramshackle charm of Havana Vieja. Walls are adorned with framed pictures of elderly ladies pufﬁng cigars, iconic images of the revolution and colourful paintings of Cuban life.
Upon being seated by our friendly yet professional hostess, we were faced with the difﬁcult task of deciding which tempting cocktail to order from The Cuban’s extensive menu. With over 100 hand-selected varieties of rum behind the bar, it’s no wonder The Cuban has a glowing reputation for its fantastic cocktails. I opted for a Raspberry Mojito – easily the best I’ve tasted outside of Havana itself – while my partner plumped for El Floridita, which comprises Maraschino liqueur, white Bacardi and lime, and is named after Earnest Hemingway’s favourite Cuban watering hole.
To start our meal, we shared a selection of tapas served in delightful terracotta dishes. A particular favourite was the cachapa – sweetcorn pancakes layered with pulled pork, cheese and salsa – thanks to the robust, spicy and sweet ﬂavours that complemented the tender meat wonderfully. I followed with pan-fried garlic and chilli king prawns served with a deliciously fresh salad, which was a satisfying take on Cuban seafood cuisine. My partner enthused over his ropa vieja, Cuba’s ﬂavoursome national dish of sumptuous slow-cooked beef in rich tomato sauce, accompanied by delicately spiced rice. We ended our meal with a trio of desserts, comprising passion fruit crème brûlée, banana ﬂambé and an exceptional basil and black pepper Eton Mess.
Throughout the evening, we were treated to a live band of Cuban and Columbian musicians, performing a medley of Latin-American and Caribbean music. Smooth, sultry and infectiously rhythmic, the band charmed the audience, creating a rapturous atmosphere that built as the evening progressed. The party culminated in the appearance of a fabulous Brazilian dancer who injected the excitement of Rio carnival into the already lively restaurant.
Whether you fancy sampling a delicious cocktail, dining from the mouth-watering menu or watching talented live musicians, the attentive staff and infectious atmosphere will ensure your visit leaves a lasting impression.