When you’ve made plans in advance, you always hope that your restaurant of choice will be ‘what you fancy’ on the day. It seems we lucked out this time in our planned trip to Las Iguanas, and with the infamous ‘Beast from the East’ in full swing, we were looking forward to a bit of Latin American heat to combat the Siberian freeze… the universe, however, was like ‘lol nice try’, as we were told on the phone that the restaurant’s heating had broken. They were forthcoming with this information though, and asked if we still wanted to go ahead with our booking, which we did. Coats at the ready!
Upon arrival it wasn’t as icy as expected, and the place soon filled up meaning it was perfectly habitable. We got to ordering our cocktails – a must at Las Iguanas, where they don’t do Happy Hour but Happy Days: a large list of 2 for 1 cocktails all day everyday. It’s a good job you’re persuaded to order two drinks at once, too, because one at a time would leave you thirsty – and our drinks order took so long They were apologetic, and speeded things up once we’d put in our food orders, but a singular member of bar staff seems bizarre when you’re shouting about drinks offers (especially one involving complex cocktails).
Now onto the food. They’ve recently had a bit of a menu revamp; where it used to be solely about Mexican* food (burritos, enchiladas & fajitas), its now embraced a larger section of South America, including cuisine from Brazil (curry-style dishes), Argentina (steaks & burgers) and Peru ‘& beyond’ (basically pork and salads). They’ve also introduced a tapas menu, as the small plates trend continues to dominate the restaurant scene. There are plenty of vegetarian options on offer, plus a few vegan bits too, so there should be something to suit everyone.
Having dissected the menu well in advance (who doesn’t?), I had my eye on one thing only: the Moqueca de Peixe, aka Brazilian fish stew. And my god, this baby delivered.
Prawns, white fish and peppers, all cooked up in a coconut, tomato and lime sauce, which arrives with its own little heated pot to keep it warm and simmering. This found the perfect balance between creamy and spicy, flavours dancing on your tongue with melt-in-the-mouth seafood. Alongside it came spring onion rice, pico de gallo salsa and some beautifully sweet plantain. It’s a tad pricey at nearly £15, but both the quality and the substantial quantity of food makes it worth it.
Upon the recommendation of a friend, a couple of us also ordered a Taco Plank alongside our mains, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a plank of wood housing a bunch of tacos with a filling of your choice. There are a few to choose from, including chipotle beef and/or chicken, halloumi & coconut squash, but we went for the BBQ pork.
The super tender meat was coated in a jerk and Havana Club rum sauce – sweet and succulent, teamed with crunchy pickled onions and special slaw. Housed in soft taco shells, this was pretty goddamn dreamy.
Las Iguanas has always been the more favourable of the popular Mexican food chains, but with this expansion into more South American cuisine it’s absolutely set itself apart, and I’m excited to try more from the menu.