If like me you have two left feet, love watching people dance but feel an uncomfortable voyeur then this is the summer opportunity to get involved. I was in good company at Floridita who are hosting salsa lessons for beginners and intermediate dancers, along with dinner and a killer Mojito. As you descend the spiral staircase the sound of latin music hits you and immediately you feel in the mood to dance – even if you can’t!
Like-minded beginners begin to learn the basic steps with two great Salsa dancers. Singles need not feel under the spotlight because there are other people to dance with and once you’ve mastered the basic step with the choreographer Richard Marcel (here in the black tee-shirt) the CDs end and the live band begins. Richard is a sight to behold, he’s the go-to choreographer on Strictly Come Dancing and has a host of other credits under his belt, so if you feel foot-tied it’s great just watching him move.
Here’s a little of the action, and whilst not everyone’s a Latin Dance Champion you’ll agree, those on the dance floor are having great fun. Floridita is perfect for a first date, a fantastic form of exercise and a great way to meet new people.
When the intermediate session begins, Richard helps regulars with their technique whilst the female dancer takes on the beginners with more practice and for those who are hungry for it, more steps.
If you fancy making a night of it, which we did, you can enjoy the wonderful Cuban hospitality of the classic Churrasco by their head chef Sascha Rieb. We began with a very generously mixed Mojito which was the best start to finish any working day. We had a great table, practically on the dance floor and close to the band which allowed me to get some great shots, although it was pretty dark and my DSLR struggled when the lights were dimmed and the poorer shots were taken by my iPhone.
There’s a set menu and instead of the Gazpacho, I chose the lime-marinated Peruvian tilapia shrimp which turned out to be a stunner the sharp lime marinade cut through the large pieces of soft white tilapia fillet, all crowned off with a couple of large prawns.
Sarah (number one Strictly fan and my dancing and dining companion) had the gammon terrine with mango and chilli salsa and, after having a chunk, found it was delicious especially with the tangy jam.
Next up the churrascos, skewers filled with chicken, beef, grilled vegetables and salmon.
We also got skinny fries (£3.95) and a delicious mixed leaf salad with red onions and cherry tomato (£3.95) along with a choice of fiery dressings for the meat.
The desserts were divine the homemade vanilla cheesecake with poached pineapple and mango tasted as good as it looks.
whilst the chocolate brownie melted in the mouth, the other choice was a guave parfait served with fresh berries. The service was excellent, attentive and not at all over-bearing. It might be a good idea to arrive hungry as there’s an awful lot of food to get through.
The thing is …. once you’ve scoffed this lot you need to get up and work it all off and you’ve not got far to travel.
If it all gets too much for you the bar is long and wide and there’s plenty of room to sit, enjoy a drink and watch the action.
I fell in love with the atmosphere, the live band on the night we visited was Son Yambu who were fantastic – we will definitely return with the boys.
Lessons start from 6:30pm and the live music begins at 9pm – 11:45pm.
7pm – 7:45pm – Level 1
8pm – 8:45pm – Level 2
Live Cuban music 8.30pm-11.30pm
Salsa lesson (inclusive of a Mojito): £20 per person
For a full salsa session with dinner and Mojito: £45 per person with an optional 12.5% service added to the bill.
Ring 020 7314 4000 to book your lessons and a table for dinner.
Floridita is in the heart of Soho at 100 Wardour Street W1F 0TN – here’s the map. Each night you can enjoy live bands, dinner and dancing. Visit their website to discover the special nights they host.
I was a guest of D&D London.