Little Havana - CLOSED
20 Inverness Street
London NW1 7HJ
I never had the opportunity to try Cuban food when I lived in the US (in 2000). So I was very excited when lovepopupslondon invited me to Little Havana that opened in October in Camden.
The decor was warm, colourful and inviting. The temperature outside was 4C, but inside felt like I was holidaying in the Caribbean. The tables and water glasses and murals just add to that feel.
A gorgeous bar just as you enter and a nightclub next door, had amazing drinks and lovely music that kept us warmed up and was ideal for dancing. No surprise then, that Little Havana offers salsa classes every Tuesday and Sunday and Latin DJ + Band on Friday & Saturday.
I wanted to stay as authentic to Cuban flavours as I could on my first visit. So to drink I had the Havana Loco and El Nacional cocktails which both had Havana Rum and apricot brandy at their base, but tasted completely different. All the cocktails on the table were unique but universally loved. There are wines and beers too on the menu if that's what you would prefer and a large selection of spirits, the largest being the variety of Caribbean rums. There's a daily happy hour from 5pm to 8pm.
The lady in charge said that they had trimmed down the menu a bit from the time that they opened, but they still have a fantastic selection of food, that looks familiar, but is unusual in its pairings and cooking techniques. I absolutely loved the way that they had used plantains, very different from the way that we cook with them back home.
As an appetiser, I ordered the Tostones Rellenos con Ropa Vieja - stuffed fried plantain with pulled beef. This was so delicious. I'd go back just for this dish.
Given that we were a group of food lovers, we obviously tasted food from each others plates. The calamari was average, nothing stand out about it.
But the salt cod fritters (very different from those served at Cottons or Vanessa Bolosiers pop up at Beachcomber) and the yuca/cassava with pulled beef were absolutely lip smacking.
The Malaysian in our group, said that the cassava tasted very different from what she is used to, but I quite enjoyed it as an alternative to potatoes. A lot more texture and flavour.
The mains are humongous. If you have had starters, I would recommend sharing one main between two people. My roasted pork was not something I would recommend. There was no fat or skin on it, so then the meat for me tastes very generic.
The red snapper was good and lightly flavoured, but the chicken pio pio was the absolute stand out of the night for me. Beautifully marinated and such rich contrasting flavours.
All the mains came with so many sides: Buttered rice, black beans, salad, fried yuca, fried plantains and each of them was so good, that it was a tough choice about what to eat and where to draw the line. I for one definitely ended up overstuffed. Leaving zero room for dessert
I definitely want to go back with my family to get them to taste some of this amazing food. I also have to try the Cuban sandwiches which my American friends have been very nostalgic about. So I'm going to be headed back really soon.
Rating : 4.5 / 5
Mon : Closed
Tue : 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Wed : 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Thu : 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Fri : 4:00 pm – 2:00 am
Sat : 12:00 pm – 2:00 am
Sun : 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
Daily Happy Hour : 5pm to 8pm