Pineapple re-imagined at Cuba Libre, Angel…

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Angel is the kind of place where you can find food from just about any corner of the globe – it’s one of the things I love about it and one of the reasons so many people come here searching for top quality food. Cuba Libre came highly recommended from friends as a great place to go for a fun, lively evening and to enjoy a huge variety of tapas so when the lovely EJ and her fiance A came down to visit, this seemed like an opportune time to give it a go…

Opened in 1990, Cuba Libre sells itself as  ‘the original and best Cuban restaurant and bar with the purest Latin flavours’ and I’d absolutely have to agree.

Six tapas for £14.95 is a great deal and we took advantage of it with spicy bite sized meatballs in a rich tomato sauce, chorizo sauteed to perfection with red wine, a great Spanish omelette, skewers of smoky char-grilled marinated chicken pieces, golden patatas bravas and plump and tasty chicken croquettes. Each dish was excellent, finger food at its best with enough in each serving to ensure everyone got a taste without leaving anyone either wanting more or feeling too full for mains.

My main course was hands down, one of the most inventive and amazing dishes I’ve had in a very long time, maybe ever. It’s really hard to put a lot of ingredients together, make it sound unusual and inviting and slightly crazy exciting but still deliver something that tastes exceptional.

Pina Rellena de Cangrejo y Aguacate – pineapple stuffed with crab, prawns and avocado with cheese melted over it and served with cassava and ripe plantains. It. Was. Awesome.

The crab meat, prawns and pineapple flesh were all juicy and cooked supremely well and the creaminess of the avo, cheese and sauce itself wasn’t overly rich or heavy. It was a brilliant combination. The plantains might actually be one of my new favourite ingredients because that combination of banana sweetness inside with a golden crisp, fried texture on the outside is a killer. The cassava was new to me but as it’s not a million miles away from potato or yam, it was also a winner.

I get very excited when I see a lot of ingredients that I love on the same dish description but you have to be careful that they actually work and aren’t all just on there because ooh, it sounds a bit wacky but it might just work.

No fear of that here at Cuba Libre. Every single thing about this place works from the creative take on Cuban cuisine to the great value Happy Hour to the lively and happy service…definitely a place to hit up again the next time a craving overtakes you for the most amazing looking pineapple ever.

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