When was the last time you saw a menu that excited you so much, you had to take it home with you? It happened to me last weekend when I was booked in to review Las Iguanas Nottingham.
You couldn’t find a more central location than Chapel Quarter where Las Iguanas Nottingham sits loud and proud, staking its claim amongst a densely populated bar area aka party central.
I find the Nottingham branch expansive yet cosy. It is a Saturday afternoon and the restaurant has a mixed clientele, including a lively brunch party and various quiet family gatherings. I like it when restaurants attract a mixed crowd. Variety is after all, the spice of life.
The eatery ‘celebrates life the Latin American way’. I leaf through the comprehensive main menu and think it pretty neat to have the menu separated by country and then again into sub-sections. It is colourful, organised (which my inner Friends’ Monica appreciates) and above all, fun to read. Yes I love and collect menus, but more on that in a different post.
Some of the menus include Celebration, Chicas’ Cocktail Club, Cocktail Masterclass afternoon tea, As it is lunch and I want to keep it light, we share a starter.
Tequeños is a popular Venezualan street food dish. Crisp pastry in wafer thin layers cradles gooey cheese. These bite-sized beauties come piping hot, which is exactly how they should be eaten, after being dunked oh-so-quick in chipotle butter. I find myself adding them to my list of snacks to take into the cinema. (They are extremely hot and will retain heat for long enough to render them moreish if insulated properly.)
It is cold out, so I am craving something spicy. I settle on Moqueca de palmitos, a creamy, chunky curry with plenty of texture. Butternut squash still has bite, palm hearts (ethically sourced) boast a silken exterior, and the earthiness of charred red peppers makes for an alluring, tasty as heck combination.
Spring onion rice with sweet plantain is good too, especially with the tangy pico de gallo and coconut farofa sprinkle. I loathe bananas and hate everything about those blasted things – but for some reason, these plantains seem really… nice. Perhaps because they are fried, or seasoned, I don’t know, but in the expert hands of the Las Iguanas Nottingham team, they have magically rendered a banal, banana-flavoured food stuff, as delicious.
Dining partner tucks into Carne de sol, which consists of slow-cooked salt cured beef top rib served with sweet potato mash. Low and slow ensures a succulent, slurp-worthy meat which arrives in a gorgeous puddle of rich beef and caramelised onion jus. It is an impressive dish and smells enticing, which makes me want to stick a fork in and snaffle a bite.
I refrain (I don’t eat beef), but I must make a point; this is the second time this afternoon that the Las Iguanas Nottingham team have made me want to eat food that I usually do not eat. That is no mean feat – my mom has been trying unsuccessfully for years to get me to enjoy eating bananas – so hats off to the Las Iguanas Nottingham team for achieving this near impossible task.
Food is expertly cooked and stellar service in the form of the lovely Lewis and limber Bal will leave you with a smile on your face. I cannot wait to return to Las Iguanas Nottingham, next time, I am totally grabbing a portion of tequeños to go.
Restaurant name: Las Iguanas Nottingham
Address: Chapel Quarter, 4, Nottingham NG1 6JS
Mon – Sat 10am–11pm
How to make reservation: Online and telephone
Telephone: 0115 959 6390
GM: Lewis, been in residence since February 2019
Head chef: Dominik Mlodzik
Sous chef: Lukasz Nowak
Front of house: Bal
Caters for dietary requirements: Yes.
Wheelchair friendly: Yes.
Quietest table: 43
How to get there: Two minutes walk from Nottingham’s Intu.
Whilst in the area: The Bead Shop Nottingham boasts pretty beads for budding jewellery makers and seasoned hands too. A stalwart on the high street, it has been going for over 19 years and is worth a visit to appreciate all things glittery and eye-catching.