Posted on Tuesday, 23rd December 2008
As you may have guessed, I am of the firm belief that a girl has to eat. By that I mean good food. Hopefully of the gloriously delicious kind: the kind so wondrously tasty, so mouth-wateringly yummy, so tantalisingly good that on first contact with your taste buds it stops you dead in your tracks and sends you immediately to high heaven.
At Floridita’s (a bar-cum-club-cum-restaurant), one gets the sense that it isn’t the kind of place that is about the food one eats. Floridita regularly showcases live Cuban bands, flown in all the way from Havana, that churn out sexy, sultry, seductive tunes. Lots of guys and gals float around the bar, downing copious amounts cocktails (starting from £7.50) and other beverages of the alcoholic kind. Those that are deft at salsa dancing demonstrate their spicy Latino moves to the beat of the hypnotic Cuban rhythms. And for those who don’t make it onto the dance floor early on in the evening, as the night wears on some inhibitions are invariably lost, and the dance floor becomes a concentrated mesh of human flesh. In the context of this setting as backdrop, it therefore seems rather appropriate to paraphrase my favourite saying to describe the kind of intentions at Floridita: “men are meat”, and yes, yes, “a girl has to eat”.
The ‘cum-restaurant’ bit described above was where we’d come to eat. The dining tables are dotted near the stage, and somewhere in between the stage and the dining tables is the dance floor. We had convened here on a Thursday evening just before Christmas for the purpose of a birthday celebration for one of my dearest, closest girlfriends, so of course I wanted to attend, albeit perhaps not at a venue such as Floridita. As to what we ate: well, as I did not come for the human meat, I will only proceed to provide to you with descriptions of the food.
To put it bluntly, it was hideous. And as wonderful as it was to see my friends and catch up with all the girlie gossip, I really could not rate the food; not one single bit. I hadn’t expected gourmet. I hadn’t even expected good. I had thought it might be just ok. But nope, it was just plain hideous.
I started with a dish of snapper ceviche with coconut and lime (£8.75), although it wasn’t ceviche. A fish dish that isn’t diced and served raw with lime juice isn’t ceviche. So this dish, served smothered with some indiscernible runny white dressing (allegedly coconut and lime) that amounted to no flavour whatsoever was therefore not ceviche, no matter what the restaurant wanted to call it. To make matters worse, the fish was not fresh. A deep fried cured ham with cream cheese croquette (£8) was passable, or at least not as awful as the so-called ceviche.
A sirloin steak was served medium rather than the requested medium rare and grilled over what must have been a dirty grill which left a layer of unpalatable residue on the surface of the steak. The quality of the cut was also questionable and at £22 was exceedingly pricey given such a poor dish. Another main of spit-roast suckling pig (£19) proved dry.
We skipped dessert. Why throw good money after bad? And when it came time to pay the bill, we came to a disagreement with the waiter on the service charge. This was due in no small part to the fact that earlier on in the evening, we’d had to ask for water four times before we eventually received any. And this was NOT before we suffered the indignity of being snapped at by the waitress who rudely proclaimed “I’m busy” when we asked the third time around. How bad could the service get?
There is no doubt that Floridita is popular with guys and girls out drinking and partying. With the constant line-up of fantastic Cuban bands (at a £6 cover charge for diners), it’s hard to see why it wouldn’t draw in a party loving crowd. But the music was so loud that it rendered any attempts at conversation during our dinner virtually impossible. And as Floridita was so busy, there was no discernible dividing line between the dining area and the bar which resulted in drinkers elbowing me in the head during parts of the evening as I tried to eat my meal. Most unpleasant. Simply put, this is not a venue for a nice meal out, food, ambiance or service wise.
Yes a girl has to eat. But not this.
100 Wardour St,
T: +44 (0)20 7314 4000