The US is repairing relations with Cuba and Barack Obama being the first sitting US president to visit the Republic of Cuba in nearly a century is a significant diplomatic breakthrough. Just in time to usher in this wind of change is new Wan Chai bar Deligator. The new venture by the Home Kong Group behind Djiboutii, this Cuban-themed joint easily has the more accessible location of the two, smack on Johnston Road. The shabby chic décor – featuring exposed concrete walls interspersed with faux crocodile skin panelling – gives off a buzzy but not overly energetic vibe. The space isn’t huge, but has all the boxes ticked for a place to drink with a group of comrades.
Cigars, rum and sandwiches are generally the most common associations made with Cuba – at least for the gourmands among us. Though the former has been available in the many cigar dens around town, this figure is disproportionate to our city’s number of rum cocktails or decent sandwiches. We have high hopes for Deligator – and man, do they deliver.
We grab a meatball marinara sandwich ($85) to line our stomachs and it’s just the ticket. Succulent pork is lathered in a tangy tomato-based seafood sauce and sandwiched between a crispy baguette. We really appreciate the use of rocket to counter the richness. For drinks we opt for a Dark & Stormy ($110), made with Gosling Black Seal, lime and ginger beer. The flavours are intense where the ginger beer doesn’t meddle much with the alcohol, and the lime showcases the dark, liquorice-y, molasses notes of the rum. There’s many a daiquiri available around town, but it’s proven difficult to find a really good one. More often than not the mixture is either a bastardised Slurpee, usually to hide the use of inferior syrup rather than fresh juice. Not so at the Deligator. The daiquiri ($95) here is just straight up Havana three years, lime and sugar syrup, and it’s divine. Served ice-cold but just below brain freeze-inducing, even the temperature of the cocktail is perfect.
We love the drinks and sandwiches at the Deligator, so much so we’re actually curious about how close they come to the real thing. And now, thanks to improved international relations, this bar might have just inspired us to find out for ourselves.
2 Johnston Rd