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Revolucion De Cuba Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield and The Great Blackened Salmon Emergency of November 2012

Published on November 20th 2012.


Revolucion De Cuba Reviewed

WHEN the kitchen goes wrong it allows people to catch up. 

Another small plate, the pork belly skewers, at £4.95, was dismal. I wanted the crackling crunch on top but I didn't want a dry crackling crunch all the way, nor did I want grease to run through my fingers as I tried to get at the skewered pig.

So in Revolucion de Cuba on Peter Street during the Great Blackened Salmon Emergency of November 2012 my friend and I went round the houses with our conversation. 

We covered politics, work, sport and culture. The food, as I say, took a long time to arrive.

It was taking so long we eventually formed a book club and read the whole of the 1,450 page War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy in the Oxford World Classics edition. We made notes and discussed the novel chapter by chapter.

We arrived on the Wednesday and left on the Monday.

The water comes in a tin teapot which is the cutest thing about the whole dining experienceThe water comes in a tin teapot which is the cutest thing about the whole dining experience

At some point as the skies darkened and night fell on that first day, the truth behind the multiple evasive answers we'd been receiving was revealed.

The waiter, in a rising voice of panic, said: “The chef spoilt the first salmon and had to re-cook it and that went wrong and had to be thrown away and now he’s doing it again, and I’m so very dreadfully sorry. Really, really sorry. I’m so very dreadfully sorry. I am indeed. That I am. I am sorry."

I liked the waiter because he was genuinely upset for us.

I liked the manager less who thought he could make up for the delay by sending over the stricken waiter and getting him to ask if we wanted a two for one deal on mojitos. 

Given we didn't want to pay for something we wouldn't have ordered if the food hadn't been late we said no. This was cowardice on behalf of the person in charge on the day. He/She should have talked to us directly rather than have the waiter do the dirty work. 

InteriorInterior

Back to the salmon.

The puzzling thing about the long wait is that this delicate water-botherer only takes minutes to cook, so maybe Revolucion de Cuba had run out of salmon on that second spoiling. Maybe they'd then had to call up a kilted Scot in his peat shack on the banks of the River Tay to woo a salmon into his net and then Fed Ex it in a bubble-wrapped goldfish bowl back to the restaurant.

I reckon that's almost certainly what happened. It explains the hour delay. 

In the end though MacTavish needn't have bothered getting his knees wet. The dish was on the small side if reasonably priced at £7.95 - top picture on this page. The bean collation with the rice was fine but the flesh of the fish with its seared surface and glaze was tough as old boots. So after all that time the fish was still overcooked. Not surprising I suppose.

A paella meanwhile was decent, with good prawns, chicken, chorizo and excellent rice. It looked a picture too and came in at £9.95. Nice filler that one and not too expensive. 

PaellaPaella

The add-ons and desserts made the meal.

The corn lollipops (£1.95) were dripping with buttery chilli goo and cooked a treat but the best thing was the dessert of churros. These are deep fried pastry dough strips that are saturated in sugar and superb when dipped in chocolate. 

I don't know the price of the churros because they came as a gift along with complimentary nachos and a complimentary glass of wine. The wine came in the singular rather than the plural because my friend had had to leave by the time it arrived.

ChurrosChurros

A second visit when the kitchen was only a bit slow rather than ridiculously slow, featured more small dishes such as sweet potato and chorizo croquettes at £4.45, and cajun cream mushrooms for £4.25.

The rich cream sauce and the lovely mushrooms made for earthy magic but the croquettes were too loose in the middle. 

Lovely mushrooomsLovely mushroooms

Another small plate, the pork belly skewers, at £4.95, was dismal. I wanted the crackling crunch on top but I didn't want a dry crackling crunch all the way through, nor did I want grease to run through my fingers as I tried to get at the skewered pig. Pork belly should be soft and moist under that upper crust not canine wrenchingly tough. Had the skewers been deep fried? 

Greasy skewersGreasy skewers

If the wine had been decent on that first occasion it might have mellowed the mood. But the Errazuriz Chardonnay was vinegary and paper thin in flavour: a classic paint stripper. We should have stuck with the famously broad range of rums on offer. 

Along with the churros and one or two small plates, the interior is the best thing about Revolucion de Cuba. A lot of money has been thrown into the former Squares bar. The scale of the place puts the diner at ease although the individual seats and smallish tables can make comfortable dining difficult. 

Not that Revolucion de Cuba is all about the food.

The scale and choice of cocktails and rums is making this a popular mainstream place to drink on weekends. Queues have returned to Peter Street. The difference is that Revolucion de Cuba is a far more attractive place than the old knee-trembler barns such as Brannigans. 

Shame the food doesn't match up then, shame that the kitchen seems unfamiliar with how to cook it. And shame there's nothing specifically Cuban about the menu which is simply generic Hispanic with steaks thrown in for good measure. But compliments to the waiting staff who on all the visits have tried their very best to lift an average chain dining experience.

Revolucion de Cuba is perhaps best left for the out of towners wanting a bit of city centre scale. But remember to take along a copy of War and Peace.

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY THE MAGAZINE. 

Revolucion de Cuba,  South Central, 11 Peter Street, M2 5QR. 0161 826 8266

Rating: 12/20 

Food: 5.5/10
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 2.5/5

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away.

Revolucion de CubaRevolucion de Cuba

The bill comes in a cigar boxThe bill comes in a cigar box

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23 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Hero
peeNovember 20th 2012.

We met with a number of friends there one Sunday recently, for a celebration. We had no delays. Tapas menu was reasonably priced and pretty good. Staff were amazing. And, like you say, the decor is great. I liked it. As did our friends.

DavidNovember 20th 2012.

Decent looking, large bar, open plan, good downstairs venue, it's essentially like having one of the Locks bars in town without the hassle. It's a good move up for Peter Street. Soon as Trof gets Brans sorted, All Stars move in and someone takes on the remaining units, it'll be a proper hub. I've only ever been on Thursdays, with Spinningfields nearby it's very popular with afterwork drinks, so I can't say if it falls to the same fate as the Locks at weekends. One criticism though, no-one should ever call places serving this level of drink (Vodka Revs, Font etc) "cocktail bars". They are to cocktails what McDonalds is to fine dining. Fun, have their place, but ultimately poor compared to the proper stuff. You want a cocktail go to Epernay, Panacea, Room, Corridor etc, and if you want a rum one go to Liars, Tiki etc (the comparison in this place's version of a Zombie alone is criminal). This is basically a Vodka Revs style alternative to the Blackhouse group monopoly on Spinningfields that serves tapas and live music.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidNovember 20th 2012.

That said, great selection of rum (by country). Been back a few times just to make my way through that menu!

Iain GrayNovember 21st 2012.

Hi David, my name is Iain (the Deputy Manager at Room) can you contact me on 0161 839 2005, or email me at iain.gray@roomrestaurants.com? Got a nice surprise for you regarding the comments above..

JoanNovember 20th 2012.

JS. I hear there's sometimes salsa classes downstairs. Would love to see you review those.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldNovember 20th 2012.

Joan, I have Anglo-Saxon tall man hips, they hate to do anything except connect my legs to my body. They've personally taken against salsa.

tblzebraNovember 20th 2012.

I'd pay very good money to see that Joan. I reckon I could summon a crowd.

AVoNovember 20th 2012.

Funnily enough, I went here for food on Sunday. Decent atmosphere and there was a 2 for 1 deal on cocktails and the small plates all evening.

I thought the belly pork skewers were one of the best pork dishes I've had in a while and was going to email the Fat One recommending he go try it however it seems that you beat him to it JS. You might have hit the kitchen on a bad day but I thought the skewers were amazing. Crispy crackling with soft unctuous meat underneath that had been slow cooked so that the layers of meat just slid apart when you bit into it. There was a sweetness to the marinade that was cut through by the chilli too.

I'd recommend that you go try the small plates especially the belly pork skewers.

Before anyone says it, no I don't work for Revolution nor do I have any affiliations to the company.

AnonymousNovember 20th 2012.

It is essentially a Revolution bar based on Rum instead of Vodka. I wouldn't expect too much from the food just as I wouldn't if I went to another Revolution. I guess it's a case of expectation, and seeing this place from the outside puts it on a slightly higher pedestal from the Vodka bars.

AnonymousNovember 20th 2012.

Sundays 241 was brilliant! We had a very very long wait on food though and not very good service (when ordering some small plates later than first order of food the waiter said we were "confusing their chef?" and they forgot to bring mayo for burger etc) - BUT for half price its worth putting up with some of this. Not sure if I'd visit on a full price day though. My advice - try it on Sundays!

Hero
robertfulstowNovember 20th 2012.

I've been here a few times now and enjoyed it but not been blown over. The cocktails are nice but only worth it if they're on 2-4-1 since, as mentioned above, they're not exactly alchemist or epernay standard. The food has certainly hit the spot but beware, every tapas dish comes with a mound of corriander dumped on top of it, something we were able to have a joke with one of the waitresses about. When it comes to service, the waiting staff seem to be comparable to nurses, either absolutely fantastic, or absolutely abismal. Definitely worth a visit on Sundays for great offers!

AnonymousNovember 20th 2012.

Just don't order a bottle of Desperado (£4.80 for a 330ml bottle I discovered looking at receipts the next day)

AnonymousNovember 20th 2012.

Oops, that was me above

Judith Benson shared this on Facebook on November 21st 2012.
AnonymousNovember 21st 2012.

I visited on a Tuesday night with some friends and was told twice that the kitchen was busy and we would have to wait to order food! After being seated at 7pm we eventually managed to order a selection of the tapas at 8:20pm....disappointing!

Mark RichardsonNovember 21st 2012.

Place looks great, drinks are expensive and the food looks like those party platters from iceland, service pretty shocking.

Lorraine ByrneNovember 21st 2012.

Went on Monday night to meet a friend before going somewhere else for dinner. Staff were really really attentive, came over 5 times and we were only there 40 minutes!!! Live music was a bit too loud for a Monday so it was a welcome relief when they took a break and just played normal sounds. Free salsa lessons on Wednesday night in the club sounds like fun.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonny be goodNovember 22nd 2012.

With you on the music, live and loud on a Monday night? One song in and we left to go elsewhere. WTF is it with loud music in these bars at seven pm? I'm having a bleedin' conversation fellas!

StephNovember 21st 2012.

I too echo the comments above. Drinks too expensive, food not very good, just another revolution (although I prefer the vodka ones), nice fit-out.
I'm confused as to why this place got 4/5 for service when part of the review was moaning about how the manager never came to apologise and the pitiful offer of a 241 mojito. Also, does the speed that the food is prepared and presented in not count towards the service element?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldNovember 22nd 2012.

Sometimes I have no idea myself, but that score was all about the individual waiting staff. I think.

jrsteeveNovember 22nd 2012.

Haven't been back since the opening night - hour long queue watching half of Eon's workforce walk straight in as they had a guest list entry. When we did finally get in we walked to the bar, saw a huge queue for service and just thought sod it, so annoying!

AnonymousNovember 26th 2012.

Went on a Saturday night... hate to sound like an old fuddy duddy but it was SO LOUD I couldn't have a conversation with the person next to me, and the waiter had to ask me to point out on the menu what I wanted, not ideal! Food was barely average in my opinion and the service was soooooo slow. The place does look the part though and the teapots are adorable.

AnonymousDecember 10th 2012.

went in on Saturday evening for a meal with some friends & family, food was poor, service not too bad & ambience was great. The biggest dissapointmentfor me though is the whole "Cuban" experience. The food is tex mex & no better than somewher like chiquitos or la tasca. Get your paella right then put it on menu

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