Nueva Cuba, which means "New Cuba", is opened by the same people of Cuba Libre, the first Cuban-themed restaurant and bar at the very diverse Clarke Quay. Apparently, Singaporeans love all things Cuban. And I'm not just talking about their devilishly delicious cigars. From the infectiously lively salsa music to their intoxicating mojitos, Nueva Cuba is quite the embodiment of what makes Cuba such a sexy destination, communism and trade embargoes notwithstanding. The food served here is Cuban, naturally.
Now, you may ask, what's Cuban food? I've discovered that Cuban food is really not much different from Spanish food. Cuba, along with most of South America save for Brazil (which was a Portuguese colony), was a Spanish colony. So, you get a lot of Spanish-styled tapas, utilizing characteristically Spanish ingredients such as olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, and chorizos. Also, you get sizzling platters of Mexican classics such as fajitas and grilled meats, black beans and tortillas.
Nueva Cuba is located along the waterfront-facing, centrally-located, restaurant-lined Customs House, which is part of the Fullerton Heritage, which, in turn owns Fullerton Hotel, The Waterboat (where Saint Julien is), One Fullerton, Merlion Park, Fullerton Bay Hotel, Clifford Pier and Customs House. This probably explains the lack of parking at Customs House. The nearest parking is via valet at Fullerton Bay Hotel, and if you ask me, worth the $12 fee for the convenience.
The Almendras Bote ($10) was a non-oily but very crispy fresh dory fillet, breaded and deep fried, then topped with almond flakes for texture and a nutty accent.
The Calabacines Y Jamon con Pinones ($14) of grilled zucchini with parma ham and pine nuts was a winning combination of textures and flavours. I loved every bit of this.
The Vieras con Jamon ($16) of scallops, peppers and parma ham sauteed in white wine and accented with saffron for a bright cheery hue. I thought the scallops could have been a little plumper though.
The Ajo Gambas ($16), medium-sized prawns sauteed with olive oil, garlic, chili and white wine, was the ubiquitous Spanish tapas. Prawns were fresh, firm without the artificially alkaline-induced crunchiness, and naturally sweet and mild.
We particularly loved the Chorizo Y Queso Relleno de Setas ($14), mostly because of the wild button mushrooms that were stuffed with spicy chorizo and mozzarella cheese and baked till a delectable melted golden mess.
Nueva Cuba Bar & Restaurant
70 Collyer Quay
#01-03 Customs House
Tel: 6535 0538
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 1am