Jimmy Page’s visit to Havana was breaking news and it spread through the web instantly. The guitar player and composer of the legendary band Led Zeppelin, gathered with Cuban musicians at Saratoga’s lobby, the hotel where he was staying. That was, pretty much, what was issued from Page’s visit. Yet less known was the presence of the Hollywood star, Clive Owen, who also visited Cuba these days. Good luck and a close friend worked together to make Page and Owen to coincide at La Casa restaurant during a remarkable dinner.
Good friends and coincidences
No other than Carlos Acosta –First Actor from the Royal Ballet-, gave us the opportunity to welcome Page and Owen here at La Casa restaurant. Carlos, who is a very close friend of our family, uses to dine with us during his stays in Cuba. This could have been only one more dinner, but as we were speaking, Carlos told me an idea that had been rounding his head since his visit with Royal Ballet last year: Cuba is a charming country and it’s time for people around the world to know the reality of our island. That’s how it showed the proposal: Carlos had been spending some time with Page and Owen in Havana… now it was time to invite them to know La Casa restaurant and the fabulous Cuban food we prepare in family.
Captivated by cold starters, the Emperador al pesto and ice-creams
With total expectation began the night. Everybody in the family was hoping to receive the special guests. Almost 10:00 pm, and I see Carlos Acosta at the front door with his big dazzling smile… they were here! The restaurant was full; Vanessa and Silvita were too busy with tables, so I decided to serve them personally.
Carlos made the presentations and a few minutes later they were asking about the menu. As cold starters we served the excellent cebiche prepared by Méndez, also the Marlin escabeche and Octopus salad. First impressions came soon: praise to the freshness of the fish and seafood… so they decided to try, as main course, the Emperador al pesto fillet.
The Emperador fillet is really an exquisite dish, if cooked with the pesto sauce we prepare at La Casa restaurant, makes an unforgettable combination. Inside the kitchen everybody was waiting for the comments on the dishes… exclamations of happiness every time I came with the compliments from the table. What probably no one was waiting for, was the enthusiasm showed by Clive Owen for the desserts… he tried all three ice-creams of the night! They were all impressed by the flavor of our iced Coconut, Pineapple and Orange.
Nothing like a good habano for great celebrations
A cup of Cuban coffee after desserts and just when everyone seemed more than satisfied with dinner, it was the right moment for the Cohíba Robustos. To share the habanos’ degustation, and as a present from La Casa, I put a bottle of Havana Club 7 Years Aged, and we all made the honors.
Mi mother, Silvia, as she always does, went to the table to know their comments on the food, the attention, the serve, and both Page and Owen were extremely polite with excellent remarks for the warm welcome. That was the beginning of a brief –but intense- photo session everybody was waiting for. It was my mother the one breaking the ice, after a hilarious moment: her first picture with Page, Owen and Carlos, had to be taken twice, just because she had forgotten… the earrings!
This special table was the very last to leave La Casa, close to 1:00 am. I was then invited to go along with this magnificent trio and I had the pleasure to talk much more with Page, who declared himself in love with Cuba. From the restaurant, we went directly to the Salón Rosado of the Capri hotel, to feel the pulse of the Havana night. Then we went walking to the Gato Tuerto club –happened to be almost closing- and we finished at Dos Gardenias, quite an experience for them, because next morning they were leaving.
I can assure that night two new fellows became part of the bigger group of friends from La Casa restaurant: Jimmy Page and Clive Owen, all that thanks to somebody who is, undoubtedly, part of our family: Carlos Acosta.