Posted by - 31 October 2010 - No comments

Flordita London

The AB and I are fulfilling a dream this year and spending New Year's in Havana  while Fidel is still in power.   Coincidentally, the AB's friend Turtle and his wife AC are also in Havana at the same time.  So to celebrate this fact that we're there at the same time, we decided to go to Flordita in Soho  The UK version of the Havanan bar El Floridita, which is famed for being the birth place of the daiquiri and a favourite of US novelist Ernest Hemmingway.

Anyone who knows anything about the country's colourful history will know that its people has suffered considerably because of the trade embargo imposed on it by the US.  So, it comes as no surprise that the country has unfairly been given the accolade of having the worst food in the Caribbean.   I have no doubt in my mind that the lack of access to fresh meat, quality and variety of produce, something we've been accustomed to in the West, has played its part in the evolution , and development of Cuban cuisine.

So, here we all are in Flordita in London.  Excited about the suckling pig with all the trimmings at £17.50 we'd pre-ordered a week in advance.  Except, they have no record of the booking we placed via Toptable.  

The manager to his credit is incredibly apologetic and offers an alternative dish: spit roast suckling pig joint (£18.50).  Not quite the same as a whole pig, and a bit more expensive than what we'd ordered but it's closer enough.   We also place orders for mojitos (£8.00) and a couple of starters to share.

The mojitos are good enough, it's just a shame the robotic and aloof waitress takes it upon herself to clear our glasses, not just the once but on three occasions, all before we'd even managed to finish our drinks.

The starters: ceviche (£10.00) and sea scallops (£14.00) arrive promptly.  The ceviche, which is essentially a Latin American version of a seafood cocktail marinated in citrus juice was served fridge temperature cold, and lacked the lively and fresh flavours you'd expect from a ceviche.     

The sea scallops fared a bit better. I like the sweetness of the maple syrup  and crispy bacon, but there's just not enough of it to dress the scallops, but that's not the only issue I have with the dish.   The scallops are over done and rubbery.

Again, the waitress Robotica makes another unwelcomed appearance, clearing our plates before the AB and Turtle have even finished eating.  Perhaps she missed the syllabus in waiter finishing school that teaches you how to tell when a diner has finished eating by the position of their knife and fork.

Before the main course arrives, a Cuban takes to the stage playing salsa music.  This is the only highlight of the evening.  The floor thumping and rhythmic music brings people dining and drinking in the restaurant to the dance floor creating a delightfully lively party atmosphere.

So the main course arrives of sliced suckling pig served with feijoada and rice.  Although the black beans look like they've been pulverised in a microwave oven, it's nice enough but not brilliant.  The skin could be a little bit crispier, but the main issue is with the seasoning.  Well, it's all a bit bland, but then again after everything I've read about Cuban cuisine perhaps this the best of what we have to look forward to in the New Year.

Verdict: After investigation by Toptable, it's since been uncovered that the error in our booking not being received was caused by Floridita.  We have had an apology from the restaurant, and an offer to return with a £50 off voucher, but no information on how to redeem the voucher. 

It's not often you visit a place you absolutely hate, but this is mine.   If there was ever a slim chance I ever return here it's will only for a drink that I buy directly from the bar,  that way I can avoid the diabolic service and food.

Floridita on Urbanspoon
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