Bento Business Lunch - Asia de Cuba, Abu Dhabi

I am one of those who sings is happy the virtues of business lunches at swanky venues because they give anyone who is budget conscious an insight to the venue, and if anything, brings the dream closer of having a full dinner at that restaurant. Asia de Cuba, along with one other  restaurant in the city, remains the love of Abu Dhabi since its debut a year and a half ago. Having recently tried their fabulous brunch, the business lunch seemed like a logical option. 

Asia de Cuba is one of those restaurants that seems grand, with its expansive terrace and views of the sea, so walking in on a weekday at lunch time is  a bit surreal. Be that is it may, there are two things I want from a  business lunch - value for money and time; can it deliver a lunch experience, from the moment I walk in,  to the moment I leave, within 45 minutes? 

They have cleverly gone with a bento concept or Japanese lunchbox as it is also known. If you have not seen a bento, you are in for a treat. It is compartmentalised box that can have between 2 and 5 different dishes. My lunch, the Turf bento consists of 5.

I placed my order at 12.10, making a conscious effort to record the time. It is a muggy day, so I sit inside, enjoying the unique Cuban interiors that have charmed so many visitors. While they have the full bar menu available for lunch, I choose to go with a Buena Vista cleanser. a mix of rhubarb, passion fruit, pineapple. 12 minutes later my lunch is served. 

It looks impressive. 5 compartments of chino-latino fried rice, spring rolls, roasted duck salad, plantain chips & avocado poblano sauce, coconut flan. It is pointless labouring on about the quality of the dishes - this is Asia de Cuba. It is a given. But the veal spring rolls are simply  so good - they offer a lovely contrast between the crispiness of the pastry and the density of the veal. On another note, the quantity has to be mentioned - it is quite a substantial meal and leaves me quite satiated, with still a third left over! By the time I get ready to leave, 40 minutes have passed from the time I placed my order. That is very good.

The Bento lunch at Asia de Cuba passed on both counts. 40-45 minutes for a lunch of such quality, in such an aesthetically appealing restaurant with wonderful views, is more than I could have asked for. Secondly, at 85AED, this lunch is competitively priced with what is around. More importantly, it gives you  a foot in the door of a restaurant that has made  a big impression since its arrival. Lunch has just got a whole lot more interesting. 

The low down

Asia de Cuba
(on the corniche opposite St Regis, Abu Dhabi)
+971 2 699 3333

Bento boxes are priced between 65-95AED.

Brandon Stoltenkamp
Disclaimer: I was invited to try the Asia de Cuba Brunch courtesy of the restaurant.