Carbón (La Mina)
Mar 12, 2019
Across the restaurant and down the concrete spiral staircase, you’re quickly cocooned into a dark underground space with vaulted vegetation-covered arches and smoky mirrored walls. Tea lights flicker at each small table and the back of the bar is illuminated by the glow of bottles. Speakeasy-esque, but refined and sexier.
Cocktails to complement the dining menu are on tap upstairs, but down below La Mina is about storytelling through a conceptual menu. Pretentious? Possibly, but Carbón pulls it off easily seeing as it was dreamed up by Thomas Girard and Sebastien Gans, ex-head bartenders of hotspots Candelaria and Le Coq. Cue their signature daiquiri de la mina. Smoky Havana rum infused with burnt pineapple, sherry, and treacle-y molasses, with a black “coal” thumbprint on the white glass really captures their concept. Next there’s the love/hate Hokusai, (yes, like the Japanese artist) a pale blue cocktail based on gin, vermouth and sake. Unusual, for sure. Don’t miss the Paloma de Casa or Soloton either!
There’s a menu of sharing plates on offer but from the sound of the buzzing restaurant above that would be your best bet if hunger gets the better of you. And what’s coming next after an impressive first year? Fittingly, a new fumoir and cigar selection if you’re partial to Cuba’s most famous export, as well as a revamped menu this autumn, incorporating seasonal ingredients the same way they do upstairs. The attention to detail is definitely impressive and there’s something special in the air here – not just the scent of sandalwood – that will have you wanting more.