Las Iguanas launches new restaurant in Bloomsbury
“Happy hour all day, every day”, promises the sign in the window, a generous promotion that marks the 25th anniversary of the Las Iguanas chain and one that aptly sums up the dining experience here. It’s plentiful, amusing and everyone seems destined to enjoy perhaps one cocktail too many. It’s a place of sizzling black iron and icy caipirinhas, a no-fuss Latin dining experience that you can rely on.
Havana Club and Jerk BBQ Glazed Pork Ribs are demolished in short order and the shreds of meat picked from the bone with serious enthusiasm. Shards of crispy onion perched on top of the ribs serve very little purpose, their crunch taken away by the moisture of the sauce, but slices of chilli fare much better, breaking up the glaze’s sweetness with the occasional kick of heat.
Chicken Fajitas are an absolute classic, and they get us started with the mains. The core of the dish is well executed: chicken moist and promisingly spiky, the tortillas soft. Condiments are generally good as well, although we would have liked to see more kick from the guacamole, which was full of the usual smooth avocado indulgence but lacking a little zing. A solid effort, all in all. Blazing Bird in Honey Peri Peri is cooked to tender perfection, all crisp skin and sticky sauce. The garnish of coriander, for once, actually adds something to the dish besides a splash of contrasting colour. Its citrus notes cut through the sweetness of the sauce beautifully and it would have been nice to have some more in all honesty. The salad that came beside it was your standard lettuce and tomato affair in an equally standard dressing. It was nice, if not especially memorable.
Both mains are remarkably good value for money, leaving very little room for dessert, but it wouldn’t be a true South American dining experience without Churros and Dulce de Leche, so we squeeze them in. The churros are crisp and light on the cinnamon, delicate and fluffy in both spicing and texture, just as they should be. The dulce de leche is surprising subtle for a sauce made primarily from sugar and milk, adding beautiful caramel notes without ever leaning towards being cloying. It’s the best thing we’ve eaten all night by a long way, and definitely something we’d come back for.
Ultimately, this latest branch of Las Iguanas accomplishes its goals. It’s hardly leading the culinary vanguard but it has no such pretensions in the first place. It’s perfectly happy to serve up classic Latin dishes without any fuss, and there’s something rather admirable about that simplicity.
Photos: Oksana Dotsenko
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To book a table at Las Iguanas, The Brunswick, 15-17 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AF, call 0203 058 3327 or visit here.