AT MAIN STREET NEIGHBOURHOOD HANGOUT TOCADOR, A Havana-channelling beauty awash in aqua, pink and red, an old pal and I quickly abandon our corner booth. We want to get closer to the action at the bar and sit in the early-evening sun. It feels positively unnatural to sway to the tropical tunes while hiding in the shadowy back (though it would be a fabulous make-out corner, were one so inclined). I’m intrigued by a drink called Electric Hot Tub, which turns out to be a deep, absinthe-soaked number garnished with a white-sage sprig. My friend, who ran here from work, cools off with a pinky-peach spritz made with guava-infused Aperol and sparkling rosé. Both of them are Instagram-perfect, just like everything else here, from the tasty little pork-stuffed croquettes we snack on to the vintage vanities where the liquor is stored on the back wall. The drinks – like Tocororo, with its gentle smack of paprika-infused tequila and ginger notes – are full of personality, not unlike bartender Javier, who darts lightly around like the handsome bird that gives the cocktail its name. He may be restless, but Tocador is relaxed as all get-out.
BELOW, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Jasmine Radu tends bar at this Havana-conjuring hangout; it’s hard not to get fresh with the weekly punches; a painted tocororo has a bird’s eye view of diners digging into fried Pacific prawns, citrus-marinated skirt steak and Cubanos made with smoked pork or braised jackfruit.
CI-DESSOUS,DEGAUCHEÀDROITE À défaut de travailler à Cuba, Jasmine Radu concocte des drinks dans un décor havanais ; les punchs spéciaux de la semaine ont de quoi rafraîchir ; le tocororo peint au mur donne des ailes aux clients plongeant dans les crevettes du Pacifique frites, le bifteck de hampe mariné aux agrumes et les sandwichs cubains à base de porc fumé ou de fruit du jaquier braisé.