Friday, 3 January 2014


This Christmas just gone, my mum, sister and I threw caution to the wind and did something totally against our usual festive traditions. We went out for Christmas dinner! This was a first for me, and I wanted to make sure we chose somewhere a little bit different. A little bit special. After a few days with thinking caps (or paper cracker crowns...) firmly on, we settled on... Havana!

I'd walked past Havana on numerous occasions and always thought how nice it looked with it's white tables outside, and people sipping their cocktails in the sun in front of the Tuscan-themed building. No matter that there was no sun! We were going to Havana! The Christmas menu looked amazing, and we were promised a jazz band on the side.

When we arrived, the restaurant did not disappoint. It was just as lovely on the inside as it looked from the outside. Big white pillars set against dark wood beams, high ceilings, fairylights twinkling away, and live, jazzy music playing from one corner.

On arrival we were greeted with a selection of canapés to nibble on whilst we perused the menu: smoked duck, fried, breaded mushroom, and smoked salmon.  

 We were given all the time we wanted to pore over the well thought-out menu, which was a good job, because we all kept changing our minds about what we wanted. Everything looked so delicious! Eventually, Sarah decided on the guinea fowl with roasted parsnip, semi dried grapes, and pickled black trompettes...

While me and mum plumped for the diver caught scallops, with almonds, cumin, golden pickled cauliflower florets, and golden raisins...

It was perfection on a plate. It also made me realise the sad fact that I definitely have not mastered cooking scallops myself at home. 

For main courses, Mum chose the barbary duck breast, with potato rosti, winter greens, and blackberry compote, Sarah went for the line caught bass with butternut squash, prawn and Bisque risotto, and I settled on the dry aged beef sirloin, with pave cut, potato Dauphinoise, and baby Bourguinion. There was some kind of mix up in the kitchen, and me and Mum both ended up with the wrong types of potato initially, so our waiter, apologising profusely, rushed off and was soon back with more complimentary potatoes. Fine by me!

After a deliciously leisurely main course and nice little break with glasses of wine and crackers (the kind you pull, not eat), the menus were back, and we were studying the desserts. The ice cream that Sarah had was delicious, and I probably couldn't have asked for much more from the assiette (plate) of desserts me and Mum went for. There were rich, mouthwatering little morsels of lemon tart, chocolate mousse, creme brulee, and a big, fat macaroon in the middle. I'm pretty fussy with macaroons. I lived in France for a while, where all of the patisseries boasted windows full of them, and they always, always tasted perfect. I'd never had them before, and was sorely disappointed when I returned to England and tasted my first one here. It was dry, and lacked the same delicious flavour. 

The ones at Havana were gooooood. 

Full to bursting, we enjoyed relaxing with coffees and more music (and ignored the petits fours they were served with!), before heading home.

The food was amazing, and the cherry on top of our experience was the service. We felt comfortable and completely looked after the whole time we were at Havana; our waiter, a friendly Frenchman, was attentive, yet not pushy or rushed at any point, which made for a lovely, leisurely meal. We will definitely be back.

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