The Cuban Bristol– to warm you up on a cold winters evening!!


cuba1 On Friday evening I was lucky enough to pay my second visit to The Cuban in Bristol with my parents and Matt and it was exactly what we needed after a long week of freezing cold weather.

Rebelado Showgirls

Rebelado Showgirls

On a Friday and Saturday night the Rebelado Showgirls are part of the evenings entertainment along with a two piece Latin band and the mixture of the two on arrival immediately warms you up, gets your hips shaking and creates a sudden craving for a mojito.

Incredible Latin Band

Incredible Latin Band

We were seated in a booth in front of the band which was great and meant we were completely emerged in the party atmosphere especially when the showgirls danced around the tables. My family and I went to Cuba in 2011 so my Mum and Dad were sure to be harsh critics, however with the authentic décor of tall warehouse ceilings, vintage pictures of Havana and mismatched furniture they fell in love with the place.

Mum and Dad loving the Mojitos.

The Cocktail List is extensive and enticing with plenty of Cuban Favourites and Classics. They are around £6.95 each, which is a standard price in Bristol these days, however Monday – Friday 4pm- 7pm and all day on Wednesday selected cocktails are 2-4-1. We went for Mojitos and Caipirinhhas. The mojitos are exactly how they should be with plenty of white rum, fresh mint, brown sugar & crushed ice – delicious.

Beautiful Mojito!!

Beautiful Mojito!!

On to the Menu. There is a great selection of food on offer with a choice of Tapas, Speciality Mains such as deep fried plantain and kebabs, Grilled steaks and burgers and Seafood. We all decided to go for the tapas and share 7 between two (£32.50).

A selection of the many Tapas we ordered.

A selection of the many Tapas we ordered.

We went for Nachos Rancheros, Pan- fried Chorizo in red wine, Patatas Bravas, Arancini, Calamari and Chilli Beef Quesadillas. The tapas are a great size (much bigger than we expected) and all tasted fresh and flavoursome, especially the chorizo (I could eat Chorizo all day every day). We did not manage to finish all the food as we were all full, but we definitely gave it a good go.

Matt's Manly Rouge

Matt’s Manly Rouge

Our second cocktail was in order to wash down the obscene amount of food we managed to devour. I was boring (or loyal) and stuck with the mojito, but Matt went for the ‘Rouge’, not the manliest of cocktails, but it was pretty.

Matt and I enjoying cocktail No.2

As we sipped on our second round of cocktails, the staff cleared the large table in front of the stage and a group of professionals began the Salsa dancing. At first Mum and I were happy to watch, but as soon as Shakira, Hips Don’t Lie came on it was time to hit the dance floor. There is a brilliant group of dancers who dance together and then teach everyone a few moves. Mum and I had a great time and I think Matt and Dad definitely got a giggle out of it.

Our hips didn’t lie!!

After we showed the professionals how it was done and danced off at least one piece of chorizo it was time to go home. Even the -3 cold wind that hit us as we stepped outside could not dampen our Cuban spirits after such an enjoyable evening.

Cool images from The Cuban Facbook page.

Cool images from The Cuban Facbook page.

I do not want to put a downer on this lively post, however the only negative comment I have is that it is rather difficult to speak to anyone at the restaurant, as the company owns two restaurants, the other being in Camden and the phone line is a generic line for the two. However the online system works well and you can book online, it’s just difficult if you want to ask anyone anything specific.

In summary, The Cuban is lively, good value for money and FUN!!!!

January Wish List

wishWARNING: The following items in the following Wish List do not compliment each other and should not be worn together in any circumstance. I have tried to select a number of items for the home; the wardrobe and body to mix it up a bit.

Urban Outfitters purse – £28

Purse from Urban Outfitters.

Inside of purse – look at that little pouch!

I am in desperate need of a new purse and this one is exactly what I am looking for. Simple design, soft leather with plenty of space for cards and it even has a tiny little money pouch – how cute.

NikeAir Max Thea £85

Nike Air Max for 'ahem' running

Nike Air Max for ‘ahem’ running

For some reason I have started to acquire a taste for trainers, I think it is mostly because I am fed up of wearing boots. I have recently bought myself a pair of netball trainers, which are strangely really cool on court and not so much when worn casually, but these can be worn with a pair of jeans, but also come in useful when I am training for this bloody 10k with obstacles thing.

Mint Velvet – Black Melissa Shoe Boot were £99 now £79

Boots from Mint Velvet.

Boots from Mint Velvet.

Despite my moaning about boots, I think these are a good transition shoe from Winter to Spring. I also hate wearing heels on a night out and I think they would look great with a dress so could be the answer to all my problems. My only qualm (great word) is that I think they are a bit too Kooky (another great word) for me. Also what a great bargain!

Goldie Duster Coat Asos £52

Goldie Duster Coat from Asos

Now as I am quite clearly a fashion guru, I have noticed Trench Coats seem to be the theme for Spring 2015 and as much as I like the traditional, beige, biscuity coloured style I think this Olive ‘Duster Coat’ is slightly cooler, but maintains the idea of a Trench Coat. I also think it might hang slightly nicer and also great for day and evening wear.

River Island Baby pink loose fit poplin shirt £25

Pink shirt from RI

Pink shirt from RI

Even though I do not work in an office with a particularly strict dress code, I do like to look nice and I always think you cannot go wrong with a nice shirt. Only problem with white shirts is that I always find you can see people’s bras and I hate wearing vest tops under things. This lovely pink shirt is a gorgeous spring colour, will brighten up most outfits and look smart and casual at the same time – perfect! (I would most definitely undo those awful sleeve button holders and roll the sleeves up myself – another qualm).

OPI 50 Shades of Grey Collection for Valentines Day  £11.95 Approximately

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 19.20.10

6 Shades of 'Grey' from the range.

6 Shades of ‘Grey’ from the range.

I might be a bit ahead of myself promoting something for Valentines Day, but this new range of ‘grey’ shades from OPI are lush!!! There are 6 shades in this particular range, they are not necessarily grey, but they are sexy and on-trend. I love the OPI polishes, they are not gloopy, the brush creates a smooth stroke and the consistency of the varnish gives a nice shine. It is also good quality so it lasts for at least 2/3 days depending on activity.

Lily-flame Daisy Dip Scented Tin £8.50

Daisy Dip Scented Tin

Daisy Dip Scented Tin


My friend Claire introduced me to the Lily-flame candles before Christmas and I fell so in love I bought myself the ‘First Kiss of the Night’ scented tin and gave it to my mum to put in my stocking. It smells amazing with a fruity, calm and musky scent and lasts for 36 hours – which is a great life span in Candle years (hours). Considering my obsession with Daisies and candles the last object on my list seems pretty perfect, this might be one that comes out of the “Wish List” and onto the “Purchased List”.

The Ox Bristol – If you’re in the MOOOOOOOD

theox1

After hearing plenty of good things from friends and reading many reviews on the Guardian, Square Meal & Crumbs, The Ox seemed the perfect place to celebrate my brother’s 19th birthday with our parents (especially as Dad was paying).

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, apart from a ‘meaty’ menu and I knew it was under the same ownership as Hyde & Co and The Milk Thistle so I was expecting a cool, 1920s, mahogany theme. I was so right.

The mysterious marble staircase

The mysterious marble staircase

At first glance you wouldn’t even know it was there as it is underneath the Commercial Rooms, which is a Weatherspoons (upstairs/downstairs reversal or what). For those who are interested it was previously occupied by Stephen Markwick’s as a highly acclaimed bistro, however even before that it was originally a bank vault, rumoured to be a secret bunker in the war.

History lesson over, as you walk down the marble staircase you appear at the restaurant and from the moment you step in (and your eyes adjust to the dim lighting) it has a very edgy, prohibition 1920s feel. With a mahogany bar, chandeliers, wood panelling, secret cocktail booths and stuffed animals hidden on the walls, it oozes mystery. It reminded me of Hawksmoor but less stuffy and cooler.

We held the menu up to the candle so that we could read it.

We held the menu up to the candle so that we could read it.

Once I dragged my eyes away from the décor my attention switched to the menu, which did also not disappoint. I do not want to bore you with all the options however here is the link to the menu.

Tomero Malbec 2011, Mendoza

Tomero Malbec 2011, Mendoza

First things first – wine list. The wine list is long enough to provide sufficient choice, but short enough to avoid confusion and panic. Despite the choice of incredible wines we just had to go for the very fitting and not too pricey Tomero Malbec 2011, Mendoza, which was everything you would want it to be. It was smooth, fruity, slightly smokey and elegantly delicious.

Onto starters: we did not want to fill up too fast so we ordered some olives and Roast Bone Marrow, Parmesan and Caramelised Onion Toast to share. There was plenty to go around and on return I would love to try the other toast options available.

As expected, the dinner menu contains a lot of meat. There are five cuts of steak to choose from, from the 6oz D Rump at £14 to the 12.5oz sirloin (£27), each served with triple-cooked chips and a sauce (you can choose between green peppercorn, béarnaise and Madeira roasting juices). Other main course dinner options include The Ox Burger with smoked Cheddar and fries; fillet of brill with mussel velouté and fried sprouts; and, for the veggies, gnocchi, mushrooms and squash.

30oz T-bone steak to share. Image copyright from Hyde & Co website.

30oz T-bone steak to share. Image from Hyde & Co website.

Despite my effort to have a healthy January my brother and I decided to share the 30oz T-Bone steak (850g), triple cooked chips, sauce, leeks & greens with béarnaise sauce – after all who goes to a steak house and has a salad? (The guilt – I only had a soup for lunch and Sam definitely ate about 20oz of the meat).

I have to say the meat was phenomenal, juicy, succulent, pink and melt in the mouth. All of their steaks are cooked in a charcoal grill which brings a smoky, almost barbecued edge to the impeccably sourced meat supplied by Winterbourne butcher Nigel Buxton. The chips were big, chunky (more potato makes me feel healthier) and gorgeous, and the leeks and greens side was delicious, bringing another texture.

My Dad went for the Rib Eye and was equally as impressed, whereas mum had the 6oz Rump, which was a bit chewy, and she was not hugely overwhelmed. However they had a side order of baby gem ranch dressing, Parmesan lettuce, which was incredible.

The dessert menu came around and as much as I wanted the chocolate delice, peanut butter crunch with salt caramel ice cream, I resisted and agreed to have a spoonful of my brothers’ double chocolate brownie ice cream – which was delicious. Creamy, chocolaty and yummy!

The beer even came in a Tankard much to our amusement.

The beer even came in a Tankard much to our amusement.

The staff were friendly, cool and very attentive without being pushy and were very knowledgeable about the wine and food. This is always a plus as sometimes I do question if the waiting staff have literally walked in off the street and picked up an apron.

I think its worth mentioning, at lunch, the set menu is a bargain – £15 for three courses and £12.50 for two – excellent value and I will definitely be going back. Also the cocktail menu looks sensational, I will definitely be back for the One Last Word (Tanqueray Gin, Green Chartreuse, Yellow Chartreuse, Maraschino,lime juice, grapefruit bitters).

Manikin

Everything about this place is cool and pays attention to detail, even the bill comes in an old cigar tin.

 

In summary – great décor, phenomenal food & authentic.

The Ox, The Basement, 43 Corn Street, Bristol, 0117 922 1001. Open lunch, Thurs-Fri, 12.30-2.30pm; dinner, Tues-Sat, 5-10.30pm.