Nestled in the midst of a typical ‘townie’ neighbourhood of Mumbai, Café Cubano is an other-worldly setting that’s located just off the busy Kemp’s Corner junction. The fun-dine restaurant (as the Owner-Chef Rakesh Talwar proudly proclaims) is a warmly lit place with a happy looking aquarium to welcome everyone. Walking in, we couldn’t help but notice the smart and minimalist interiors that made for a good place for people of all ages; the minimum being a strict 25, ensuring you have a license to drink. This place was started a couple of weeks ago and claims to offer dining that has something for everyone. None of it was Cuban though.
Refreshing cocktails, nothing Cuban
The bar menu is a mix of classics and a few house specials. From the house specials (both @ INR 395) Fix The Bulb – a dark rum based cocktail with a tangy taste, served in a modified bulb glass and the orange-flavoured Cantrita – a tequila based cocktail served in hand-painted cans were quite refreshing.
As for the food, while the Chotey Bites were a nice mixture of Western and Indian flavours, the Indian ones dominated the mains with no traces of anything Cuban in the menu. The Peri Peri Paneer Bites (INR 295) were perfectly done in a tandoor, soft chunks of paneer prepared with a peri peri spice rub. The Fried Dhokla (INR 195) was a non-traditional rendition that used chili-garlic sauce, to make the dhoklas spicy and crispy.
The Tandoori Wasabi Broccoli (INR 265) was another unconventional delight wherein the tandoor- charred, strongly flavoured broccoli florets tossed in wasabi hit our senses fairly hard. Yet again, Japanese, but not Cuban. As die-hard cheese fans, we were thoroughly delighted by the Bombaiyya Cheese Fondue (INR 445) that mixed continental and desi flavours well.
We then indulged our tastebuds with the Khairul Seekh Kebab (INR 325), a starter fondly named after its inventor. Served with mint chutney, the succulent chicken rolled inside a thick layer of mutton was quick to melt in the mouth. Next on the order was Fish Chili Milli (INR 345). This fried fish in spicy and tangy flavours was slightly disappointing since the fish coating tasted quite ordinary. Not-so-fresh fish made matters slightly worse.
Since we’d gone heavy on the starters the mains that followed had to be light bites. The mains were mostly Indian, interspersed with some Chinese options. Deciding to stick to the Indian palate we ordered a portion of Dal Makhani (INR 325) that had a smooth, creamy texture and the Dabba Gosht (INR 445), juicy lamb in rich masala gravy with crispy Tandoori Roti (INR 75) and soft Naan (INR 75). Surprisingly, none of that’s Cuban either.
We decided to round off the meal with a variant of the Cutting Chai Panna Cotta with Pistachio Naankhatai (INR 295). The panna cotta and strawberry pieces made for a classic combo with a super twist in the form of the chai flavoured jelly at the bottom.
Cafe Cubano promises to be just the kind of place you can go to with family and friends. Regale your loved ones with a perfect night here over some modest dishes and distinct house cocktails.