WITH A MEAL AT IBERICA
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner and Mother’s Day not far ahead its maybe time to start thinking of some special treats for our loved ones.
Although we would all love to give them a break in the sun with current travel restrictions that’s a little bit of pie in the sky – but we can recreate the magic of Spain with a meal at one of the city’s most prestigious and beautiful tapas restaurants.
Iberica is situated in Hepper House a grade 2 listed building on East Parade and has one of the most romantic and stylish interiors.
A former cloth merchants house and then an auction house it has been lovingly restored to its original grandeur. The high ceiling is decorated with murals and light floods in through its glass dome ceiling. The walls are adorned with works of art and chandeliers hang from the ceiling. There are potted palms that set off the dark wood furnishings where gleaming cutlery and sparkling glasses sit.
The bar is comfortable and still in the same tone with comfortable sinkable Chesterfields for those who want absolute comfort or high cocktail stools for the more stylish customer.
Iberica has a great cocktail menu all with a Spanish theme. I chose my favourite Negroni with a special twist – it was a Sherry Negroni with Bombay Sapphire, D Amontillado, Chataigne liqueur Campari and Angostura Bitters. Sherry, once though of as the tipple your grannie used to drink enjoyed a resurgence some years ago and now its fast becoming one of the fashionable drinks in the top bars.
My colleague, who has a Spanish bolt hole villa where she escapes to now and then, chose Arustai – a honey rum (which she says is typically Spanish and drunk there a lot in cocktails) with an almond and banana liqueur, cranberry and pineapple juice.
Both of us totally agreed these cocktails were certainly something and it was so pleasing to try something different – almost with a burst of Spanish sunshine – despite the freezing weather outside.
The dishes at Iberica are created by Nacho Manzano, their Michelin-stared Executive Chef. Nacho grew up in the tiny village of La Salgar in the Northern Asturias mountains, where he learned to cook with his grandmother and mother. Under his guidance Iberica has created the spirit and style of Spanish cuisine.
The tapas experience is great for a special meal as it allows time for conversation and to sample different dishes and tastes paired with wines of the various Spanish regions.
Whilst we looked at the menu, Manzanilla olives and bread with organic olive oil was just the ticket to munch on. For our appetiser we opted to share the half and half selection of 3 kinds of mixed cheeses and cured meats platter.
We ordered four tapas dishes between us choosing two classic ones and two from the Iberica tapas list.
The tortilla, a potato and Spanish omelette was very traditional and tasty and above all very hot whilst the grilled whole wild tiger prawns were plentiful and flavoursome.
The Iberica tapas the restaurant’s interpretation of contemporary Spanish dishes are to be highly recommended. Pumpkin asad which consisted of harlequin pumpkin with labneh seeds, nasturtium leaves and kumquat was a great contrast of tastes with the kumquat providing a tangy flavour to the dish.
The Beetroot and San Simon Cheese with caramelised hazelnuts, picked red currants and baby watercress had a myriad of flavours. It was a very large portion and the pickled red currants gave it a real kick.
Iberica has a dessert menu of Spanish classics. There was no other choice for my colleague than Churros with chocolate – despite the overload of calories – this was a large portion of the tasty Spanish dessert made to perfection which she enjoys most days on her long residences in Spain.
My caramelised Spanish rice pudding was delicious – I am a big fan of cold rice pudding but this had a great flavour with a crispy topping.
Iberica is a great place for a long leisurely meal with friends, family or colleagues and has a lovely ambience for that special occasion. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff and they are well versed in what is on the menu.
Iberica, 17A East Parade Tel 01134037 007
Open: Mon-Thurs 12.00-9.00; Friday 12.00-10pm; Saturday 12.00 – 11.00pm. Closed on Sundays.
If you cannot make it to Iberica on Valentine’s Night or fancy a special date night at home then why not indulge yourself in their newly launched Valentine Night in Hamper or their Valentine’s Day Cook at Home. These are available from:
Valentine’s Night in Hamper – https://shop.ibericarestaurants.com/product/valentines-tapas-night-in/
Valentine’s Cook at Home – https://shop.ibericarestaurants.com/product/valentines-tapas-night-in/