Overlooking the Marina Bay waterfront, Nueva Cuba (literally “New Cuba”), is fitted with wicker chairs and wooden tables. A massive Cuban flag hangs proudly on the main wall, with its blue and white stripes, along with red tea lights, forming the sovereign trio of colors.
After being seated, we perused the extensive menu of tapas, mains and cocktails and decided to spoil ourselves with a Bulljito. For starters, we went with stuffed mushrooms and garlic pork cubes; the wild button shrooms cupped bits of chorizo with a mozzarella hat. Unfortunately, the pork sausage lacked the smokiness we’re so fond of. Served on a hot plate, our pork loin looked promising as it sizzled with bits of minced garlic. While the chili padi made absolutely sure its presence was felt, the meat was a little tough and not nearly flavorsome enough.
Our ice-cold highball, with its refreshing minty kick and tinge of Red Bull, calmed our tongues just in time for the Mojito grilled chicken thigh which was nicely tender. The vegetable medley of cauliflower, broccoli and carrots it came with were crisp, if a little uninspired; patatas bravas (baked potato cubes in a homemade tomato concassé) and a fruit salsa finished the plate. While we thought the chicken was good, the hearty chunks of potato soaking up the slightly tart, roughly chopped tomato sauce were even better. But what made the dish truly memorable were the vibrant yellow, red and green slices of fresh diced mangos, chili, coriander and onions. The sweetness of the fruit, spiciness of the chili and slight sharpness of the onions tasted as good as it looked.
Our only gripe is the service. While we can forgive clumsy (our waiter accidentally dropped a knife on us while clearing our plates), we would have appreciated a little more TLC. If they work that bit out, we might consider making this a regular eating place.