Restaurant review: Revolucion De Cuba – The Friary, Cardiff

The entrance to Revolucion De Cuba, Cardiff

A couple of months ago I reviewed the brunch menu at Cuban-themed restaurant, Revolucion De Cuba, at The Friary, Cardiff (opposite the Hilton hotel). Recently, I returned to the restaurant to try out some of the dishes from the new menu along with some other bloggers, followed by a cocktail-making masterclass.

Main bar at Revolucion de Cuba
The restaurant is styled as a traditional Cuban cantina featuring a main bar and a rum bar, Bar Havana. 

Rum bar

However, the menu is not limited to Cuban cuisine; many of the dishes are inspired by Caribbean and Latin American influences and there are a number of Mexican, Spanish and Jamaican options available. 

To begin, we shared a number of tapas dishes. Nachos des Sol (£5.50) consisted of crispy tortilla chips topped with spicy Roquito pepper sauce dotted with black beans, fresh guacamole and mango salsa. These tasted great and they were light enough to enjoy as part of a bigger meal (which was just as well, as we had somewhat of a feast ahead of us!)

Nachos

The nachos were followed by two whole, grilled sardines served with a smoky tomato salsa (£5),  cauliflower wings (£4.50); cauliflower florets fried in a light mojito batter, with a creamy goat’s cheese & honey sauce and a smoky tomato salsa, and pork and chorizo quesadilla (£5.50); a flour tortilla stuffed with roasted pork belly, chilli jam, chorizo, cheese and sour cream.

I wasn’t fussed on the sardines, but I’m not really a big lover of any kind of bony fish, so that probably explains it. However, the cauliflower wings were surprisingly pleasant; I’ve never thought of eating fried cauliflower before now, but it’s definitely a winner. The pork and chorizo quesadilla was equally as satisfying and great for sharing, although I’d happily have eaten a portion to myself.


Fish, cauliflower and chicken bites
We then nibbled on glazed chicken and romesco (£5.50); tender, pan-fried chicken with the skin served slightly crispy, accompanied by a roast tomato and pepper sauce mixed with crushed almonds and hazelnuts.

In addition we shared a plate of honey roasted carrots, courgettes, peppers and sweet potato (£4.50), and roasted butternut squash  (also £4.50). The butternut squash was drizzled in a delectable honey and goats cheese sauce, served with a sweet chilli jam. 

Butternut squash, chicken and honey roast veg

Moving on to our main courses, we tucked into a chargrilled chicken thigh skewer (£11.50) served with chunky sweet potato wedges and black beans. Dressed in a freshly made chimichurri sauce, the chicken was chargrilled until crisp and succulent and tasted irresistibly smoky.


Chicken thigh skewer

A whole Cajun-spiced sea bream (£12) was flash-fried and topped with chimichurri, served with homemade crushed Creole peas and patatas bravas. Bream is one of my favourite kinds of fish and for me, it was the best of all the dishes we sampled at Revolucion de Cuba; the fish seemed to melt in my mouth and it was fairly easy to avoid the bones. The patatas bravas were also pretty good, although the peas were a little dried-up.

Sea bass (whole)

The menu includes a selection of burgers (or ‘hamburguesas’) like the Cuban cheese (£10.50), the jerk chicken (£10) and the surf n’ turf (£11.50; topped with calamari and garlic aioli). All burgers are served in a soft brioche bun with fries, slaw and a tangy rum mayo.We shared a beef brisket and jalapeno burger (£13.50); a thick, flat iron beef burger topped with slow-cooked shredded beef brisket, deep fried jalapeños and crispy onions. The beef brisket was a little on the chewy side but packed with flavour, while the burger was meaty and well-seasoned. However, it was suffering with a slight case of beef overload and I’d be keen to try it with pulled pork in place of beef brisket.

Beef brisket and jalapeno burger, fries and slaw

Meanwhile, a juicy pork and chorizo burger (£11.50) was topped with a thick slice of melted smoked cheddar and caramelised onions. This burger had plenty of meaty bite to it; I wasn’t surprised to discover that it was made using a combination of beef, pork and chorizo. I could definitely taste the chorizo, complemented perfectly by the smoky cheddar cheese.

Pork and chorizo burger, fries and rum mayo

Vegetarians are pretty well catered for by Revolucion de Cuba’s new lunch menu, with dishes like Cajun cream mushrooms (£5), a mushroom, bean and spinach burger burrito (£9) and aubergine and artichoke paella (£9.50).

We tried the marinated cauliflower steak (£9), served with smoky tomato, pepper and nut Romesco sauce and sautéed kale, with baked sweet potato and sour cream. The words ‘cauliflower’ and ‘steak’ don’t belong together for a reason. This was completely lacking in flavour and I wouldn’t dream of paying £9 for what is essentially a thick slice of cauliflower. It might taste better served in a light batter, similar to the cauliflower wings we had to start, but it still wouldn’t justify the price tag.

Cauliflower steak

If you prefer a lighter option for your main course, you might like to try Revolucion de Cuba’s salads. The chicken salad (£9.50) is jam-packed with grilled chicken, serrano ham, roasted butternut squash, goat’s cheese, beetroot, roasted corn, green lentils and vine tomato, with salad, mango salsa and kale and spinach dressing – a mouthful, literally!

Chicken salad

Feeling fit to burst, we had just enough room left for a chocolate brownie. They were intensely chocolate-y, moist and gooey. I did find them to be a little too rich and dense, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side would probably help to overcome this.

Chocolate brownies

After lunch, we moved over to the rum bar for a cocktail making masterclass. We were shown how to make a few different cocktails, including a traditional mojito, before going up to the bar one-by-one to create our cocktail of choice.

Cocktail class

I went for the Jamaican Me Crazy (£7.95). In a tropical take on the traditional mojito, this was a concoction of Jamaican Appleton Estate VX and Koko Kanu rums, crème de banane, lime, pineapple juice and fresh mint, topped with a Jamaican flag. I could taste the rum but it wasn’t overpowering and I really enjoyed the fruity flavours in this cocktail, although it would be no contest for a decent, authentic mojito. 

Cocktail with Jamaican flag

I enjoyed sampling Revolucion de Cuba’s new menu and I would consider this returning here for food again in future. The dining atmosphere is casual and laidback, making it the ideal restaurant to visit for lunch with a group of friends.

Revolucion de Cuba
The Friary
Cardiff
CF10 3FA
(029) 2000 8444
http://www.revoluciondecuba.com/bar/cardiff/

I was invited to Revolucion de Cuba as a guest and my food and drink was provided complimentary. However, I was not obliged to write a positive review. 

Have you been to your local Revolucion de Cuba for food? What did you think of it? Post a comment below – I read every single one!

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