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Bar review: Mamasita’s Cantina, Central – Cuban bar, Mexican street food

The vibe: Mamasita’s Cantina is a Mexican/Cuban restaurant and bar in the same building as My Tai Tai and Ee Da Le. The restaurant is on the fifth floor, with the bar one floor above. Self-styled as a Cuban cantina with Mexican street food, the bright colours and cane chairs give a cheerful, tropical feel. There’s comfortable seating indoors and a good-sized terrace if you want to drink al fresco.

The drinks: the bar boasts an impressive range of Latin American liquor, including numerous rums, tequilas and mezcals along with the likes of cachaca and pisco, plus a well-chosen wine list for less adventurous drinkers.

Signature cocktails are supposedly Cuban themed, although the island’s most iconic drink of all, the Daiquiri, is a surprising absentee. The Cubana Mojito (HK$118) was a star, beautifully balanced and refreshing.

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The Revolucion Martini (HK$118, vodka, apple jam, elderflower, Cointreau, lemon) was also very good, with distinctive perfumed notes from the apple and elderflower. However, we didn’t “feel the passion” in another cocktail, Am Feeling the Passion (HK$148, tequila, green chartreuse, citrus, agave, passion fruit, mint). Elaborate presentation in a copper flagon with mounds of ice was pretty but impractical – the straws were barely long enough to reach the small quantity of cocktail at the bottom. The drink itself was more alcohol than anything else and the only trace of passion fruit was the garnish.

A request for a margarita produced a bizarre concoction with the texture of a smoothie and an unpleasant burnt taste. It turned out this was the Mamasita’s Margarita made with mezcal and (for some unfathomable reason) avocado. The standard margarita (HK$128)that replaced it was disappointingly mediocre.

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The verdict: upbeat and fun, Mamasita’s Cantina has the potential to become a real Latin hot spot in the heart of Hong Kong with its outstanding premium liquor portfolio and authentic, tasty Mexican snacks.

Mamasita’s Cantina, 5/F and 6/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central. Tel: 2896 6118. Open: Sunday to Thursday 6pm-11.45pm, Friday and Saturday 6pm-2am