Ignoring the pelting rain outside, last week I was fully in holiday mode as I headed down to the brand new Revolucion De Cuba bar restaurant situated on the famous Call Lane in Leeds. Long story short, there used to be a sectioned part of the ordinary Revolution bar based around the Cuban style fiasco and now, they've brought the almighty to a whole different environment (and a brilliant one at that).
I've been so excited to write up this post and share this fab discovery with you all. I'm lucky enough to attend so many launch, preview, or offer nights in my hometown and there seems to be a new bar opening nearly every week but this one really made an impression. It wasn't just your standard blogger evening, the team of staff worked together in effort and planning to create a fun packed few hours with an experience to remember.
Being the first one in there (yes you read correctly; me, early for a change) I killed some time waiting on the rest of arrivals by photographing the dark but inviting atmosphere in the downstairs area. The place was much bigger than I expected; a nice, open, warm space with the dreamiest of decor. Think cacti, teapot plants, picturesque lighting and rum-based quotes to live by. You could feel a real buzz as soon as you walked in. There's such a laid back, chilled vibe, and with live bands on every night it means there's not just great cultural food, tapas, cocktails and spirits, but a music scene too!
We all had such a warm welcome to the venue, the staff approaching us and even formally hand shaking to introduce themselves (very swarve indeed). After a thorough introduction of what to expect, we were lead upstairs to our own personal free room for the night, complete with disco balls and barrels for tables. Greeted with straw hats, flowered leis and a choice of Cuban beer or a classic cocktail, the treats began to well and truly launch. I, of course, opted for the cocktails (let's be honest, I may as well bathe in cocktails with the amount I consume over event periods). The Cuba Libres were served in the coolest way possible - in teapots and mugs. That's definitely my cup of tea (no pun intended).
The thing I loved the most about our preview evening was the fact we weren't going to be just stood around finding our own entertainment. Not that I mind doing that but it's good to have something to go by, you know?! Three activities were set in place for us to take part in and we were split up into three groups - round robin style for tapas party dining, cocktail masterclasses and rum tasting.
Our first activity was rum tasting (and I was quick to learn on an empty stomach this wasn't the best idea for a non drinker). We were taken through to the VIP area to meet Alex, our rum trainer. I never knew so much information could be processed from rum until I sat down and listened to him talk. 21 years old and an absolute expert, I was enthralled by his knowledge! To say I knew little about alcohol, let alone rum alone, was an understatement. I was clueless as to what different types there were, where it originates from, how it's stored and so on but all these topics were interestingly covered. He even told us some hidden secrets like how to convey a cheap rum to a high quality, how to test for sugar content, how to hold a rum glass, the best way to drink rum, and even some old legends from how rum was perceived in the past life. I haven't found myself thinking about the in depth details of an enjoyed spirit before but surprisingly, there is a lot more to a drink than the basics you find in your typical bar.
We tried 5 different rums all ranging from light to dark; the first was Diplomatico Blanco, second Appleton Estate VX, third 8 Criollo Cacao, fourth El Dorado 12 Elements and lastly, Ron Zacapa. Taking on the advice of Alex I swirled the liquid round, brought the glass up to my nose slowly to get used to the smell, then took a gentle gulp. The instant reaction was a screw the face up, eye watering, burn right through to my nose and gullet kind of reaction but I learnt (once again from Alex) that once it reaches past the tongue, you will get used to it and surprisingly, I did. Each rum was different; ALL were strong and rich but the flavours varied, some were sweeter, some more harsh, some smokier and heavier. My favourite had to be the 8 Criollo Cacao, the taste was extremely unique; like a mixture of coffee and chocolate extract. Like a pure alcoholic version of a Mocha Latte.
By this point, my head was definitely spinning and as we moved on to another alcohol involved activity, I could almost hear my poor body crying out. It wasn't used to the high percentage of alcohol but I was eager to master how to make my very own cocktail. Luckily, as we were last to have food, the staff catered for our near-drunk needs and provided us with some extremely delicious snacks and nibbles. The banana chips, roasted peanuts, pork crackling, tortilla chips, guacamole and olives did the job of soaking up the rum whilst satisfying my hunger.
The lovely John was on hand to teach us how to fest up our individually made Mojito. We had the choice of passion-fruit, raspberry or classic and I chose passion-fruit which was actually pretty nice
and most importantly drinkable if I may say so myself. As you can tell from my overly concentrating face (along with Corinne and Hayley's focused gaze), I took this lesson really seriously. It was another heads up to the staff on this occasion as John was mighty patient with my clumsiness and lack of cocktail making skills. In the end it worked out but I never realised how many actions, methods and certain specific techniques go into making the perfect cocktail. Kudos to the bar workers whipping up those drinks without mistakes on a busy evening!
They definitely saved the best till last as our freshly made tapas was awaiting us on our concluded task seated on the vintage diner style booths with a gallery of framed photos above us. I've only ever had tapas once before and this one certainly favoured its way to the top. I'm not a huge meat lover so I was a little apprehensive at first but the mixture of dishes met my fussy standards (and more). We were generously served Cajun Cream Mushrooms, Potatas Bravas, Roasted Chorizo, Iberico Ham Croquettas, Serrano Ham Bruschetta, Honey Roasted Veg, Aubergine Quesadillas and baguette bread with a dip, and oh my, what delightfully sustaining tastes. As a mushroom, veg and carb lover, the bread, bruschetta, sauced mushrooms, quesadillas and potatoes were my favourite but every little bit was divine and I think we managed to eat every last scrap. Hey we even politely asked for more bread (totally not just because our clumsiness struck again and we dropped half of it on the floor).
Overall I had such a truly wonderful night and couldn't have asked for any better. The food and drinks were spot on, the venue was gorgeous, I met and got chatting to some more lovely local bloggers, caught up with my usual girlies, and the staff were fantastic; eager to please us, guide us, accommodate us and inform us. It was clear the team were extremely passionate about the food and drink they produced and presented and it made me want to come back for more. I will certainly be heading back there, maybe for one of their special fiestas where dancers are even roaming around and it's nothing but fun and games! If you're ever in or around Leeds, you've got to go head down and check it out. With deals such as a burrito and mojito for £10 on weekdays and an easily shareable tapas selection being 3 for £13, it's just irresistible. I couldn't recommend it more. After-all, there ain't no party like a Cuban party!
Have you ever been to a Revolucion De Cuba? Do you know anything extra important about rum, cocktails or tapas? Let me know!
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