June 20, 2016

Cubanos Fil-Cuban Cantina

I am not really familiar with Cuban cuisine; there aren't a lot of Cuban restaurants in Manila that I know of. So when one of my college best buddies invited me to try her brother's newest restaurant venture serving Cuban-Filipino fusion cuisine, I was pretty excited about it especially that I will finally be able to taste Cuban cuisine for the first time with two of my best college buds.

Cubanos Fil-Cuban Cantina is the newest venture of the men behind Tipsy Pig Gastropub's mouthwatering dishes: Chef Jared Sto. Tomas and Chef Rainier Barbers. Cuban cuisine is a blend of Native American food, Spanish, African, and Caribbean cuisines. Some Cuban recipes share spices and techniques with Spanish and African cooking, with some Caribbean influence in spice and flavor. But with Cubanos, they fused it with some well-loved Filipino dishes and other personal favorites.

It is located inside City Golf Plaza in Julia Vargas Ave Pasig City just across the Valle Verde 3 entrance. The new restaurant opened just last June 8, 2016. The interiors give a relaxing atmosphere: well-lit and with simple decors and wall arts. I love the string of bulbs that adore the ceiling of the resto which gives it a hipster-ish feel. 

Indoor and al fresco dining are both available. There's also a mini DJ booth and when it gets late the lights are dimmed which cues clienteles that it is time for some drinks and some chilling out. And oh the food truck that serves as the restaurant's bar is not to be missed, it'll remind you of that movie "Chef" for sure!

Cubanos offers both food, non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. So anyhoo, here's what we got to try at Cubanos:

BBQ'D ELOTE - Buttered corn on the cob sprinkled with shaved Parmesan cheese and house blend BBQ mixture. I love the generous amount of Parmesan cheese that is sprinkled on it, can be a bit messy to eat but worth all the hassle. 

SIGARILYOS CON CHORIZO - Cubano's take on the Thai spring roll but with a Havana twist, Chorizo, tasty noodles and an awesome dipping sauce. I am a fan of fresh spring rolls that's why I really like this version of Cubanos. The vinegar-based sauce balanced the sweetness of the chorizo.

FIL-CUBAN SKILLET NACHOS - Baked nachos overloaded with spice cheese sauce, shredded beef caldereta, crispy chorizo and sour cream. The nachos might not be that crunchy anymore because they were baked together with the super generous sauce and toppings; nonetheless they're still a great eat.

Cubanos are Cuban sandwiches. Cuban bread is a fairly simple white bread, similar to French bread and Italian bread, but has a slightly different baking method and ingredient list (in particular, it generally includes a small amount of fat in the form of lard or vegetable shortening); it is usually made in long, baguette-like loaves. 

GRILLED CHEESE NI MOMMY - Cubanos revived the classic ham and cheese that our mom used to make but this time they used 3 different cheeses and added butter. Old school goodness taken to a different level with the use of Cuban bread instead of the usual loaf bread.

PB AND J CUBANO - A Cuban inspired sandwich filled with peanut butter and strawberry jelly served with banana milkshake on the side. Peanut butter and jelly plus a glass of banana shake. How can you not love that? Tell me!?!

CLASSIC CUBANO - The original Cuban sandwich with roasted pork mojo, ham, pickles, cheese and spices. No non sense sandwich, just all the goodness you can imagine a sandwich should be.

CUBANO FILIPINO - Cubanos' Filipino take on a Cuban sandwich, roasted lechon kawali, pulled pork lechon and sweet soy on a Cuban pan de sal. Predicted to be Cubanos' best-seller and I completely agree! Try it and see for yourself. No kidding!

BULGOGI CUBANO - Korean inspired Cuban sandwich served with traditional Bulgogi strips, Machaca beef and caramelized kimchi. A bit on the spicy side, if you like hot and spicy this your go-to sandwich!

I'm not really a sandwich-kind-of-person but the sandwiches at Cubanos are so good that they can give other sandwich places a run for their money. The sandwich-to-filling ratio is good enough. My favorites among all the Cubano sandwiches would be the Cubano Filipino (Hello?!? Two words: lechon kawali!) Ham and Cheese (Old school goodness) and the PB and J (a must-try! Seriously!)

Main Entrees: 

LIEMPO NI GRINGO - Gringo, the foreigner, not the soldier turned politician...Jk! These are charcoal grilled pork belly glazed with homemade BBQ sauce and served with BBQd corn.

PERI PERI INASAL - Peruvian inspired charcoal grilled chicken with a touch of Bacolod's famous inasal.

FIDEL'S CUBAN RIBS - Soft and tender ribs coated with Cubanos' sweet and spicy BBQ glaze

POLLO FRITO - Crispy spiced fried chicken served with house blend gravy and Asian BBQ sauce

Thumbs up to the main entrees especially the Fidel's Cuban Ribs which was super tender and falls-off-from-the-bones meat and was surprisingly cheap for its price considering how large the serving was. 

HAVANA SAND - rum, pineapple and calamansi

COCOCUBANA - dark rum, nata de coco, calamansi

I like that the cocktails don't taste like alcohol, the flavors masked the taste of it, which I personally enjoy... which also means it'll kick you in the ass after a while not knowing you're already drunk... just kidding. But seriously they're yummy! These cocktails are available in glass or carafes and there are other alcoholic drinks available too. We weren't in a mood to drink and we just tried the two upcoming best sellers in Cubanos' bar list.

I really like how flavorful and tasty everything that I got to try at Cubanos. Though the food is already a fusion, I was still able to get a feel and taste of Cuban cuisine. Their prices are super affordable too. I wouldn't be surprised if I found myself trekking back at Cubanos, I am already daydreaming of that Cubano-Filipino sandwich.
City Golf Compound, Julia Vargas Avenue,
Pasig City, Philippines
Contact No: 0995 138 3646
Email: cubanosph@gmail.com
Instagram: instagram.com/cubanos_ph

For more information, complete menu and restaurant reviews, check out their Zomato profile: 
Cubanos Fil-Cuban Cantina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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