Review: Chino-Latino Brunch at Asia de Cuba

Light but plentiful food at an elegant spot with a splash of Latin fire in its belly Discuss this article

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DETAILS: Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs333 (house beverages). Fri noon-3pm. Nation Riviera Beach Club, Corniche Road (02 699 3333).

Asia de Cuba is easily one of Abu Dhabi’s favourite spots. Its Cuban-Asian fusion food offers something a bit different, and the restaurant has just the right mix of charm, quirkiness and luxury. That being said, this is not a brunch for the faint-hearted foodie – if you’re not a lover of fish or, moreover, raw fish, this may not be the choice for you.

If you are, however, then there is very little not to like about Asia de Cuba. The Chino-Latino Brunch offers a comprehensive selection of dishes, as well as group mixed drink and ceviche masterclasses (ours was octopus and red pepper, and yes, it was clearly the best in the house). The chef gives step-by-step instructions and it’s a nice way to bring a jolly, but disparate, crowd together.

Given the fact that it’s summer and sweltering outside, we love how much natural light there is in this restaurant, which makes sitting indoors far less of a bore (the outdoor sea-facing terrace is a winter treat not to be missed). It’s refreshing to escape the confines of hotel all-day-dining venues, which don’t always show off the capital’s restaurants at their best. It’s also good to find the A/C here is at a reasonable level – we can’t be alone in shivering our way through many a meal, surely.

The à la carte brunch menu is designed for sharing. Mini welcome bites are followed by small plates, ceviche and other raw offerings, main meals from the grill and then dessert.

We recommend you pay a lot of attention – there are so many bite-sized dishes on the table at one point that we completely lose track of what they all are. There is sushi and tuna tartar, mini eggs Benedict and three different types of bao, and many more very pretty looking plates of food in between. Things get less complicated, however, when we move onto the mains. We are very happy with a sensibly sized grilled salmon in a thick and sticky tamarind sauce.

Everything is light and of a high quality, but perhaps not as “wow” as we had anticipated. Our favourite course is the dessert. There is something wildly exciting about a chocolate tres leche with Szechuan peppercorn ice cream, or churros with both chilli chocolate dipping sauce and a gooey toasted meringue.

While ceviche and Asian influences are now found across the capital, fiery and unusual desserts are harder to come by. Like the brunch itself, they are fun and elegant, with a hint of Latin heat.

A definite must try.

The bottom line

Unusual fish-led fusion fancies.

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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