Iberica have just launched their new Spring menu. Dr C was invited down to the Leeds restaurant to sample a few dishes and share her experience. Once again I was incredibly jealous, Iberica please come to Brum!
Over to Dr c… I naturally took Dan along with me. I think he’s just about used to me photographing every single thing and food being not quite piping hot by the time he gets to tuck in! Recently I’ve been seriously getting into Spanish and Catalan food ahead of my upcoming trip to Barcelona and Palma.
The restaurant itself is built within the Grade II listed Hepper House on East Parade. All of the Iberica interiors were designed to resemble Andalucian tapas bars. It’s absolutely beautiful inside, even the toilets are a sight to behold! But onto the reason we were here, THE FOOD! The Menu is curated by Michelin starred chef Nacho Manzano. It focuses on traditionally made, high quality products and modern interpretation of traditional recipes. Whilst Iberica is a chain, it never for a second felt that way. The enthusiasm and passion for the food from the staff was refreshing and really added to the whole evening.
Appetisers and Wine
Whilst we were perusing the impressive menu we were brought a platter of the most divine Juan Pedro Domecq Jamon Iberico. Rich, buttery and packed full of flavour. We could easily see why this has been awarded 3 gold stars on four occasions. Alongside we enjoyed some seriously delicious bread and olives. To go with our dinner we opted for a bottle of the Torremayor Reserva Tempranillo on our server’s suggestion. It was exactly perfect for our meal, and definitely a grape variety I think I need to explore a bit more.
The Main Event – Tapas
We decided to go with a mix of dishes from the Classic Tapas and the Iberica Tapas sections of the menu. First up were the Croquetas, Ibericas signature tapa. These were fluffy little deep fried pillows of gooey cheese, potato and salty serrano ham. I’m still surprised about how wonderful something so simple can taste.
We were then treated to a little extra dish, one that we hadn’t ordered, but that the chef really wanted us to try. The Beef Tomato and Salmojero. I am so incredibly happy we got to try this dish! The dish was served chilled. Salmojero is Andalucian dish similar to gazpacho, with a beetroot granita and garlic breadcrumbs. I couldn’t quite believe how much of a punch this dish packed, especially for a chilled option. Certainly one I’d order again!
Next up the Iberica Burgers. These were delicious little secreto pork sliders served with plantain “chips”. I really enjoyed my one of these, Dan wasn’t quite as enthused. I’m putting this down to my burger having more of the pickled piparra peppers which really added an edge to them. Although I’m two minds about the plantain chips. The taste of them is great, but there’s something a little powdery about the texture of plantain which I’m not sure I like. I’d certainly give them another bash to find out for sure.
My choice came next in the form of the Pulpo (grilled octopus). I need to come right out and demand that if you’re in Iberica you simply must order this dish. It was mine and Dans standout dish of the night. The octopus was charred on the outside giving just enough crunch and texture. Whilst the inside was sweet and delicious. The Aioli and paprika it was served with really worked well and pulled the whole dish together.
We also order the Gambas, because well who doesn’t order the gambas when they’re having tapas? The prawns were big and plump and really beautifully cooked. The sauce they were served in was garlic with cayenne pepper and tasted great. For me, I’d have liked it a little spicier, but then again I’ll always say that!
Onto our penultimate tapas dish the Twice Cooked Lamb. This was another absolute winner and I’m glad we went with this one. Imagine pulled lamb and you’re halfway to this dish. This lamb was so juicy and went perfectly with the marinated cherry tomatoes and pea and mint sauce.
For our final savoury dish, we decided to go with the Crispy Chicken. The confit chicken thigh was served with romesco sauce and hazelnuts and for me it really worked. Dan wasn’t quite as keen – I think he was in mourning that we’d finished the lamb at this point, but still enjoyed it.
Whilst we were absolutely stuffed at this point, neither of us can really say no to a dessert. So we took the plunge and asked for the dessert menu. There was pretty much only ever going to be one choice for me, the Churros with Chocolate. They were hot, crispy and fluffy and coated in sweet sweet sugar. The molten chocolate dip was some of the best I’ve ever tasted and puts the variety served at Christmas markets to shame. It’s safe to say I’ll be eating Churros when I’m in Spain.
Dan took a bit of a punt and went with the Torrija. I kind of don’t know how better to describe this that the most decadent fancy French toast you’ve ever eaten. These were made with brioche and soaked in sweetened milk and cream and served with a really delicious apricot coulis and vanilla ice cream. It also had a really lovely layer of caramelised sugar on top which gave a brilliant crunch to the dish. I had serious dessert envy over this one, thankfully (for me) we had agreed to split the dessert between us!
We had a really wonderful evening at Iberica Leeds. What’s still really stuck with both of us is the passion for the food being created and served and how much the staff interacted with everyone in the restaurant. It was really refreshing and I can safely say that I’ve been singing Iberica’s praises since we popped along.
Do you like Spanish food? Have you checked out Iberica yet?
P.S. Dr C was a guest of Iberica. All words, photos and opinions are her own.
P.P.S. Find your local Iberica. The Leeds one is located at Hepper House, 17a E Parade, Leeds LS1 2BH.