I like to give places second chances, which is a good job really as my first dining experience at Rev de Cuba was pretty underwhelming.
I don’t mind the place for late night drinks and dancing (I’ve attended some very fun parties in the upstairs bar that have left me with stories I couldn’t ever share here) but the food left me pretty indifferent. As a result I’ve not been back to eat since, which means the Temple Street venue has had 18 months to improve and make a better impression. And I wanted to feel more positive about the place, I really did.. but it’s still missing a beat.
An impromptu weekend visit from my lovely (but notoriously picky) little cousin and a total lack of inspiration on my part after naff all sleep the night before was behind the revisit. We were walking past it, both starving and past the point of caring – I’d like to say there was more to it than that but here we are. After being seated quickly drinks arrived soon after but it took several attempts to get anyone’s attention to order food. I remember this being a problem at my previous visit, despite it (again) not actually being busy but decided things would get better..
In a bid to keep things easy (famous last words) I went for the 3 small plates for £14 deal. An hour had passed between us arriving and the food turning up – despite there being literally just 8 of us in the bar. Pork belly skewers promised a spicy rum sauce but just felt sticky and lacked much flavour aside from the meat that could’ve had crispier fat considering the colour they turned up. Like all 3 dishes, this was also lukewarm.
King prawns (Gammas Pil Pil) arrived swimming in a butter sauce that probably needed less chunks of almost raw garlic and definitely more of the chilli the menu promised. Finally the Rumba chicken skewers that promised juicy meat (it was quite dry despite being doused in liquid) flavoured with soy sauce, lime and pineapple juice. I tasted a boat load of chilli and the accompanying red onion-heavy pico de gallo and not much else.
At this point I asked for another drink that arrived a mere 20 minutes later – I don’t know where they get their Diet Coke from but I assume there’s a well in the basement they have to collect it from.
The chicken burrito bowl is cheap at £7 but that’s probably because it’s mainly just rice, and had so little meat in it I don’t think it’s even possible to really talk about it’s flavour or quality. Still, watching my cousin dig for victory in an attempt to find some of the elusive chicken filled the time waiting for the drinks to arrive.
In summary, no dishes were horrendous (and the portions are fairly generous) it’s just that they weren’t very interesting or well produced either – my exact issues a the last visit. I’ve been to the sister venue in Manchester and the food is miles better, so clearly something just doesn’t resonate here or they simply just don’t care very much in the kitchen. Either way I doubt there will be a third chance for Rev’s food from me.
Great for dancing – not my cuppa for food. There’s plenty of places just yards away that offer more interesting grub served in much less time. Take a look at my Instagram page for ideas.
Rev de Cuba, 8 Temple Street, Birmingham, B2 5BN
Disclosure: There’s a 50% off deal on (I mentioned this in my Jan 2020 deals post) but it’s not available on Saturdays so we paid in full. Unfortunately.