Tequila and tapas take center stage
Nick Polit is proud of the more than 150 types of tequilas and mescals available for tasting at Xuvia Lounge, one of Costa del Este’s newest upscale hangouts, fast making a name for itself for its international dishes and relaxed, swanky atmosphere.
Opened since June, Xuvia Lounge reflects the influence of the well-travelled family that lies behind it. The appreciation of tequilas and mescals comes from their having lived in Mexico for the last 17 years.
Up a winding staircase and across a plated-glass floor, one finds a veritable library of spirits, open for browsing. “The most expensive tequila we sell is Rey Sol; each bottle is hand-signed,” explained Nick. The “Dragones” brand is another top-shelf, limited production. The smaller producers yield several hundred bottles at a time and Nick painstakingly sources them himself.
Reflecting Mexican arts and crafts, the bottles come in a wide array of designs and materials. Some are hand-blown glass, others are painted ceramic. The Kah brand of tequila some may recognize for its bottle shaped in the form of human skulls.
“My favorite tequila is the 1800 añejo on the rocks with lemon. We call it Nick’s lemonade. While it is not on the menu, should you come to the bar and ask for one the bartenders will take care of you,” said Nick. “Like with wine, we do food pairings.”
The menu of “small plates” presents an endless amount of possible combinations with tequila. The dishes are reminiscent of tapas, yet are more substantial in quantity and international in flavor. There is no skimping on ingredient quality as all plates were designed by none other than Simon Fowler, the chef aboard the $300 million dollar “M/Y ‘A’” luxury motor yacht, one of the largest and most expensive in the world. The recipes draw their influence from a global port-of-call, and the portions are perfect for sharing.
Top-sellers include Tacos al Pastor and the Bistec Picado. Other favorites include the Papas Trufas (truffled roasted potatoes with a creamy mayonnaise dip), the Korean BBQ fish (made with fresh corvina), the Fish & Chips (with real British beer batter) and the Mexican Guacamole (served atop mini corn tortillas with crunchy bacon). Those seeking bold flavors should try the Jamaican Jerk Wings or the Afghan Chicken.
For dessert, the Canasta de Almendra (almond basket with mango sorbet and vanilla ice cream) will not disappoint. For something different, order the Prune Beignets, dried plums stuffed with almonds and chocolate then battered and fried.
Xuvia’s décor is top-class. Dark mahogany wood is complemented by lush, interior accents and beautiful, comfortable furnishings.
While trendy, sophisticated music animates any visit, fans of jazz will want to take in the live bands that drop by to play Wednesday through Saturday, often entertaining on the outdoor terrace, starting at 8:30 p.m. “Thursdays and Saturdays we have a saxophonist,” said Nick. As an alternative to Casco Antiguo, Xuvia offers easy parking with hookahs available outside for groups. Check Facebook.com/Xuvia to learn about upcoming shows.
Xuvia Lounge & World Cuisine
Ocean Mall 2nd Floor
Avenida La Rotonda
Costa del Este, Panama
Mon – Wed
12 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Thu – Sat
12 p.m. – 2 a.m.