ASIA DE CUBA
Place: Nation Riviera Beach Club, St. Regis Hotel, Abu Dhabi
AED 250 (Soft beverages)
AED 350 (house beverages)
AED 400 (Bubbly)
Timings: 1.30pm- 4.30pm
“Never take advice from me; you will end up drunk”- Anonymous
After a 1-hour monotonous drive to the capital, we arrive at the Riviera Beach Club to celebrate the birthday of a dear friend. Our table of 25 is by far the largest at the restaurant, which is not more than one-quarter full when we arrive. I am surprised to see that many tables have brought their children along, so I anticipate a PG-13 style brunch.
We wait by the bar for all of our table to arrive, sipping drinks and enjoying a cool and sunny February day. Given that this is a “Latino” brunch I was expecting a DJ to entertain us with the latest reggaeton and salsa, but sadly I do not spot a DJ neither did he later arrive.
For starters, we are served the following small plates:
- Cuban Empanadas- although I liked them, others made negative comments
- Soft Hens Egg- the most bizarre dish of the day. Basically an undercooked egg served in a bean a tomato stew
- Asia Market Salad- nothing noteworthy to mention
- Beef Tartare- an ok tartare. I have had much better versions
- Crispy Maki Roll- another popular dish
- Veal Belly Bao- arguably the crowd favorite. Only criticism would be that everyone wished there was more veal in the Bao
- Thai Fish Cake- very juicy fish cake which was also popular
- Oysters- nice oysters, but you are only served ONE per person
- Mango & Pineapple Ceviche- basically a fruit salad. Could have been a nice dish if they served some seafood on top (scallop or prawns)
- Salmon- served sashimi style in a fruity dressing
For Main course, you get to choose one of:
- Spiced Roast Chicken
- Braised Short Rib of Beef- I opted for this dish as I usually go for the beef dish in these situations. This version was tender & juicy served with a carrot ginger sauce and roasted potatoes
- Grilled Salmon
- Vegan Sofrito Pad Thai
The feedback on the Chicken and Salmon was positive overall.
- Chocolate Choux Buns
- Chocolate Tres Leche
- Rice Pudding Mousse
- Fruit Sorbet
The churros was my favorite. I also tried the chocolate Tres leche which was nice and light.
The Beverage options are as follows:
- Beer: Stella (bottled)
- Wines: White. Red. Rose (Italy). One from each offered only. I tried both the white & red, and both were relatively smooth
- Spirits: (Gin, Rum, Vodka, Whiskey).
- Cocktails: Mojito, Asia Sangria, Cuba Libre, Bichi Ni Yoimasu(rum based)
The service staff do their best to keep up with our demands, yet the service is sporadic, and the kitchen forgot to send out several main courses for our table. However kudos to the management for acknowledging this mistake, by extending our drinks package for an additional hour.
With a gorgeous beach side location, and a kitchen that has the ability to produce quality dishes, this brunch has the potential to be so much more. Add a good DJ, attract a larger crowd, and adjust the food & beverage menu; and Asia De Cuba could be the hottest brunch in town.
Value for Money: 16/20.