November 06

Revolucion de Cuba review: A fiery addition to Leeds ever growing bar scene

The relatively recent closures of Elbow Rooms and Baracoa Luxe Bar left a huge gap in the lower Call Lane market, especially when you consider the huge area of space these venues occupied.

Thankfully, a big-market player in the shape of Revolucion de Cuba has finally landed in Leeds, and the recent press night I attended confirmed this was £1.5m well spent.

Split over two floors, the venue looks amazing, and is warm, spacious and inviting. Whilst downstairs houses the restaurant and a bar, upstairs houses a large dancefloor and stage area, where you can expect some Latin heat from regular live bands.

Take a left at the top of the stairs and you’ll find my favourite part of the joint; a Cuban rum bar, stocking dozens of premium brands.

I was lucky enough to enjoy a family holiday to Cuba way back in 2007, and left with many happy memories (Some of which were lost due to excessive mojito consumption), however none of these related to the food.

The traditional Cuban grub I ate in Havana was decidedly bland, and lacking in seasoning, so it was nice to see that Revs have given their cuisine a welcome dose of panache and spiced everything up, making it much more tempting for British pallets.

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On arrival we enjoyed some refreshing Cuba Libres, and then sat down to preview some choice picks from the tapas menu. Highlights include Cajun Cream Mushrooms (5.00) and Mojo Chicken Quesadillas (5.50), which were both perfectly cooked and seasoned.

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Everyone round the table agreed that the winning dish however was the Albondiga Picante (5.50); a gigantic beef and pork meatball served in a fiery sauce and served with sour cream – something I’d happily order again.

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Next up was the best part; the rum tasting. For just under an hour, we were entertained by a barman whose knowledge of rum was impeccable, especially given the fact that most of his knowledge was self-taught and not handed down in training. He simply loved booze, and who can blame him?

I was delighted to find the girl next to me at the bar was not a fan of rum, which meant double shots for me. This seemed like a great idea to begin with, but of course this came to bite me on the backside later on.

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We were fortunate enough to sample six premium rums from the extensive menu. Standouts for me were the Elements Eight, Diplomatico Blanco Reserve, and the El Dorado, which was reminiscent of an aged Scottish whisky.

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So by now we were all beginning to feel a tad tipsy, but that didn’t stop us heading back through to the main top-floor bar to be shown how to concoct the perfect mojito by two of the bars skilled mixologists.

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Needless to say, I was by now drunker than a pirate on payday, so my cocktail making skills left a lot to be desired.

I still managed to rustle up a half decent mojito, and knocked it back before stumbling home, where I proceeded to spend £100 on eBay purchasing horror memorabilia, proving that alcohol really does have a lot to answer for.

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The next day I vowed never to drink again, only to break this promise to myself just several hours later; nothing beats hair of the dog.

So Revolucion de Cuba has proven itself to be a worthy addition to Leeds rapidly expanding bar scene, and feels like a much more grown up version of its infamous sister company. Next time I visit I shall be drinking more responsibly. Famous last words.

 

 

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