When a gorgeous eatery opens its door in one of my favourite cities, there is a pretty high chance that I’ll be popping in soon. New openings are like a klaxon call for foodies and so it was on a blustery Saturday that I found myself heading on over to Revolucion de Cuba, Market Street, Nottingham.
I lived in Nottingham years ago and continue to have a love affair with the city. The foodie scene has changed over the years for the better and the calibre of food being served at high end establishments has improved year on year.
Although positioned on the high street, Revolucion de Cuba is a chain offering smarter-than casual dining. The first thing that hits you is the heavenly ethereal vibe, thanks to the burnished glow of the candles in the foyer.
You know that church scene in Face/Off’s finale, where John Travolta and Nicholas Cage have a massive shoot-out? Imagine dining in that (minus the bloody gore), in all its magnificent glory. It’s a gorgeous setting. Earthy chocolate brown frames, faded maps adorning walls, golden candlelight throwing shadows on the never ending walls – it’s as if you’re wandering into a Technicolor film. And for a few hours I forgot I was in a rain-battered city, suspending belief as I imagined I was somehow magically transported to Cuba. We were shown to our table by the lovely Paulina. She talked us through the menu and even gave us some recommendations. It’s a good menu that has something for everyone, including paella, chicken salad, sirloin steak and soft shell crab burgers (that’s the next thing I need to try on my hit-list). Even the drinks list is diverse yet compact, making choosing a drink to whet your whistle not too taxing. We ordered a selection of tapas dishes to share rather than two mains, just because we wanted to taste as much of the menu as we possibly could. Here is what we munched our way through (4 tapas dishes each):
Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes, spicy tomato sauce, topped with garlic aioli). Nice, crisp cubes of potato, good for those who like tasty food but are wary of spice (the sauce itself isn’t very spicy).
Roasted Chorizo (glazed in rich red wine and honey sauce). One of the stars on the tapas menu, this chunky meat is hearty, perfectly seasoned and wonderfully filling. The sauce has a peppery hit on the swallow, which is beautiful.
Gambas Pil Pil (king prawns tossed in butter, chilli, garlic, lime). Melt in your mouth prawns in a moreish, garlicky sauce that is luxurious and creamy on the palate.
Ropa Vieja Tacos (shredded lamb, rich tomato sauce, served in three warm flour tortillas, with rum mayo and sweet slaw). Lamb beautifully tender, perfect marriage with rum mayo that continues to provide subtle sweetness a minute after chewing. Stunning.
Iberico Ham Croquettes (Spanish air-dried ham in béchamel and potato croquettes served with garlic aioli). One of my favourites; crunchy on exterior, magnificent mushiness inside, lovely salty ham aftertaste. I am still dreaming of this tapas and may just HAVE to pop by again for this dish alone.
Serrano Ham Bruschetta (sourdough toast topped with tomato, garlic and serrano ham). Great take on Italian bruschetta. I think it would have worked better if the toast was warm, still tasty due to the gorgeously pungent garlic tempered with the zing of mini tomato dice.
Pork Belly Skewers (slow roasted pork in spicy rum sauce, topped with homemade pico de gallo). Moist meaty cubes of deliciousness. Loved the addition of the spicy rum sauce.
Mojo Chicken Quesadilla (crisp grilled flour tortilla with cheese, pan-fried peppers, onions). One of The Dude’s favourites. He loved the buttery peppers; the cheese and tortilla combo was perfect for the chicken with a kick.
Sweet Potato Fries. To anyone who knows me, I have a constant sweet hankering for sweet potato fries. The Rev de Cuba (yes we’re on first name terms now) sweet potato fries are one of the best I’ve ever tasted. Simultaneously crispy and soft, these fries leave a party in my mouth.
Mini Dessert Selection (warm strawberry and mango empanadas, chocolate rum truffles, churros with rum-caramel sauce, mini strawberry daiquiris). Fruit empanadas were like a delicious pastry, more of a tropical turnover with a twist. Chocolate truffles were mouthfuls of heaven (the chocolate vermicelli was lick-ably cool) and the strawberry daiquiris a neat palate cleanser. The star of the show was the rum-caramel sauce. I could have happily necked the sauce in one hit, it was that stunning.
One thing I will say – be sure to order a side of bread, because the majority of these tapas dishes come in delicious moppable sauces. I hate wasting good food and bread is always a great canvas for soaking up scrummy sauces. (We used the sweet potato fries and the cubes of patatas bravas as “mops”, but of course bread will always work better.)
The décor throughout is beautiful and well thought out. And I love the spot on service (hat-tip the chatty, personable Paulina who made us feel looked after). And I love the menu too. With so many gorgeous dishes to choose from, I will most certainly be back. The Hot Buttered Rum sounds like the perfect warm and cosy combination of butter, dark rum, apple cider and spices to warm those chilly cockles on a wintry afternoon. With daily lunch specials and pocket friendly prices (their half chicken and two sides is an awesome jaw-dropping £11), make Revolucion de Cuba a must-visit place. For Cuban inspired cuisine that packs a punch in the flavour stakes, head to Revolucion de Cuba Nottingham now.
Star Rating 1-10 (1: “I hate it, I’d rather eat my own shoe” to 10: “I’d pillage for a meal here”.)
Value for money: 8
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Address: 26-28 Market St, Nottingham NG1 6HW. Tel: 0115 871 5735