Restaurant Review: The Cuban, Camden

The Cuban – Close But No Cigar

Camden was typically frenetic: hordes of the weird and wonderful spilt in from all angles. The Cuban was found nestled in Camden’s eclectic epicentre, buzzing with shoppers resting from buying vintage tracksuits, vinyl and Novocaine.

The Cuban Camden’s boisterous atmosphere seemingly overwhelmed the staff who were less than composed. After politely advising I had booked, menus were shoved in my general direction. I loitered like a lemon, looking for anything resembling a table without success; a second server limply gestured to the lift, leading to a dead second floor.

The Cuban Camden’s menu advised: “our chefs spent time learning traditional Cuban cooking techniques”. The fact tapas should be ordered often and served quickly wasn’t learnt:  the food came together and after a long delay.

Regarding The Cuban Camden’s food, the anemic Calamari was the blandest pieces of squid known in existence. I doubt the complete absence of seasoning was part of the “authentic Cuban experience”. Better Olives & Feta can be sourced in Morrisons down the road -hardly the “best Cuban ingredients in London”. The Plantain was okay, but a giant banana served in three pieces didn’t excite. The Chorizo was enjoyed, but this should be the star of any tapas restaurant and was average at best. The Albondigas were well cooked and seasoned but lukewarm. The fried Sweet Potato & Plantain were tasty but just crisps with ideas above their station. Finally, the Chicken Tenders were fine, but which “neighbouring Caribbean Islands” serve schnitzels?

Under normal circumstances, The Cuban Camden is a rip-off tourist trap; however, it is regularly on Groupon providing much better value.

The Cuban Review Summary

Atmosphere 5/10    Cost 4/10    Service 4/10   Quality 3/10

The Cuban Tapas Restaurant Camden Locks

Below Average Tapas

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Bar Review: Bedales Wine Bar, Borough Market

Bedales of Borough Market – People Watching Paradise

Bedales of Borough benefits from an excellent location and is a trendy, yet unpretentious wine bar that nestles perfectly in the area. Borough Market is one my favourite parts of London; a melting pot of flavours, as diverse as anywhere in the world. It feels unspoilt by corporate interests, just a shame a loaf of bread is £4. The down to earth interior and warm staff created a welcoming atmosphere, while chaotic South London went about its business all around us.

Bedales wine was very much enjoyed, although chosen from a relatively limited by-the-glass menu. That said there was an impressive collection of bottles to order. I tried orange wine for the first time, which was rustic and robust, but I was glad I ordered a glass rather than a bottle. Some nibbles consisted of top quality ingredients but offered laughably small portions: small bursts of Mediterrean umami punctuated the wine glugging. The bites to eat were just too expensive given the almost zero lack of preparation required.

Sipping wine and people watching – are there any greater pleasures? Well yes probably, but at least this was legal. Bedales of Borough Market is a great little place for classier boozing, but don’t bother eating.

Bedales of Borough Market Review Summary

Atmosphere 9/10   Cost 3/10    Quality 8/10    Service 8/10

Bedales of Borough Restaurant Review

Great selection of wines by the bottle, not so much by the glass

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