The Cuban Place (formerly known as La Bodeguita del Medio) – 125 York St, Sydney. http://www.thecubanplace.com.au/
Last time I was in Sydney 9 months ago, everyone was talking about this new restaurant that had hit Sydney – La Bodeguita del Medio. I never got round to trying it though, so I was bummed. But on my return, my dear friend V decided to take us out to this place – only now the restaurant is simply called ‘The Cuban Place’. Go figure right – we’re in Austraya! Just as well – besides V, I didnt know a single soul here who could pronounce it!
I was super excited about this outing – we entered the place on a Friday evening at 5.30pm and felt like I was instantly transported to Havana in the 1950s…but with the trendy, after work Sydney crowd. To give a bit of background, the world famous La Bodeguita del Medio is a restaurant/bar in Havana that is known as the birthplace of the mojito, frequented by many famous personalities including Ernest Hemingway. While I haven’t been to Cuba, this Cuban Place for me did a great job of making me feel like I was in Cuba.
V and I made use of the $10 Mojito happy hour that was on til 6pm and went to the balcony and enjoyed them while we waited for our table which only opened at 6pm. Once seated, we were a little put off by our rude waitress who seemed so spaced out that we wondered if she had a few drinks before her shift…:s
We were told that not everything on the menu was available as something happened in the kitchen earlier – a tad disappointed that we couldn’t have the paella for two or the rabbit, we ordered what was available. What we ate:
Plantanos Verdes Fritos – fried plantains ($8): a great dish to start on as we waited for the others to arrive.
Ropa Vieja de Cordero - yogurt braised lamb, black bean vinaigrette & black beans ($30): this was divine – the lamb was cooked so perfectly and the beans were such a great accompaniment.
- Pollo Relleno – spiced chicken thigh with a chorizo & cashew stuffing, served with a quinoa & papaya salad ($29): another super yummy dish, the chorizo stuffing wrapped around in chicken was just YUM! I was sad there were only 3 pieces on offer, with a lot of salad.
- Ensalada de piña con menta - pineapple & mint with rocket fresh pear & apple cider vinaigrette ($18): a really fresh and crisp salad, loved the pineapple with rocket!
Patatas Asadas – roasted rosemary & garlic potatoes with pimento salt ($8): a potato side as you would expect
Frijoles Negros - slow braised black beans ($8): really yummy beans, done so well!
What we drank:
- Mojito ($10): you cant come here and not have the mojito. Meh – it was a standard mojito. Kinda disappointed since they once named themselves after the birthplace of the mojito.
- Trumpeter Malbec, 2010 ($50): we ordered the bottle, and weren’t disappointed – went really well with the lamb!
The food was delicious but what happened at the end left a very sour taste. It was 8.30pm, in the process of paying and enjoying a long overdue catch-up and the waitress came over to our table and basically asked us to leave as there was a waitlist. “There’s a long line of people waiting, it would be great if you could wrap up. But you dont have to”. RIGHT. Then she asked us if she can get us the bill, but we told her that we had already paid and got up.
That really left a sour taste on our meal. Along with the other waitress who was also rude and super spacey. One thing I cannot stand is rude service from restaurants – especially ones that we turned up super early to in order to get a table, only to be told at the end of our meal to bugger off.
Would I return to pay $$$ to wait a whole lot and put up with really rude service for that nice meal? Probably not.
the verdict: 6.5/10 – the aftertaste of the rude waitresses soured an otherwise very delicious meal
don’t forget to order: Ropa Vieja de Cordero – the lamb was cooked so well!
to try next time: paella for two!