Id veni et vidi et edi (I came, I saw, I ate)
The newly opened Las Iguanas on West Nile Street is the latest addition to Glasgow’s growing plethora of South American-inspired restaurants following on from Viva Brazil, Tropeiro, Boteco Do Brasil etc. Las Iguanas focuses mainly on Mexican, Brazilian and the Spanish cuisine which influenced much of the South American continent.
We discovered that Joanna Blythman had been in the week before us but she didn’t like it, her fish were too fishy and she took umbrage at Las Iguanas being part of a chain. Yes, Las Iguanas is a chain and Aberdeen is their only other location north of the border. We’d known about them for some time having almost visited them when we were in Bath a number of years ago (they started out in nearby Bristol) but on that occasion we decided to eat elsewhere (in another chain in fact!)
Drinks-wise Las Iguanas sell a fair amount of South American wine by the glass & bottle (cheapest glass is £3.60 and cheapest bottle is £14.25), lager (bottles £3.80 – £3.95 and pints of Brahma are £3.95) and cocktails ranging from £6 – £9.95 but 14 of them are available for £5 each, all-day from Sunday through to Wednesday and these include such standards as Caipirinha, Cuba Libre & Pina Colada though Mojitos, Maragaritas and Daiquiris are excluded from this list and are full price all week, but as we were there midweek we couldn’t resist some of the specially priced cocktails.
For food, rather than order full portions we decided to order tapas – 3 dishes between 2 for £14.40 or 5 dishes for £24 which is available until 7pm every day and all-day Sunday & Monday. We opted for 5 for our mains and had 2 starter dishes as well.
Ever feel like chips but want something a bit different? Well here’s a tasty South American alternative. They reminded us of Polenta chips, which we keep finding on the menus of new Italian restaurants in town, but were a bit starchier – somewhere between a potato and polenta.
These were the same fish Joanna ordered, we have no idea whether they were sprats, herring or something more exotic from the other side of the Atlantic but we didn’t find them overly fishy, in fact they were very tasty and moreish.
Little squid rings – a bit thin, but pleasantly crunchy and served with aioli, coriander and a lemon wedge – the way we like it!
Crispy outside and spicy inside with just enough chicken. One to be careful with as we had an accident involving an exploding quesadilla and the contents went everywhere, well onto the table anyway! Good kick from the dip.
Plump prawns with a strong sauce. The sauce was a bit too much for Mrs Foodie, however the prawns were delicious.
Not the best Chorizo, but not the worst. damning with faint praise? Not at all, thicker chunks would have been meatier and more succulent.
Meaty and tomatoey lamb meatballs in a mild sauce, handy for calming down after all the other spices and it makes a good dip for bread (which came with some of the other plates).
We found room for some pudding…
A creamy sweet sticky cheesecake topped with crunchy macadamia nuts, which I don’t think I’ve ever had served with cheesecake before, and a crunch with soft vanilla cheesecake goes well.
Mmmm was all that was muttered. Afterwards Mrs Foodie did say that the dish was like a Tiramisu but without the watery sponge.
Las Iguanas has been around for a while, since 1991 in fact, but has only now made it to Glasgow. Was it worth the wait? Yes, of course! It’s a welcome-addition to an ever-expanding genre of restaurant that is popping up in town. And Glasgow does love spicy food, but while some of the food was spicy, nothing we had was that hot so perhaps some of the dishes need to be amped up a notch for a Glasgow audience. The stylish retro interior looks great (sadly we didn’t get any decent photos) and staff were all fantastic on the night with food and drinks coming out quickly and importantly everything was spot-on temperature-wise. Both male and female toilets were checked and both passed with flying colours. The only real downsides were that some of the food was a bit thinner than what is served elsewhere but we left with smiling happy faces and will be back!
Read more about Las Iguanas here.