Review: Las Iguanas

Magdalen Christie 9 May 2015

Las Iguanas, the Latin American restaurant, was first set up in Bristol in 1991. They aim to serve “a tasty blend of the traditional and the new” with “fresh ingredients, mouth-watering regional food and drink, and service from passionate people”.

They got the passionate part right; our server was friendly and welcoming, pointing out the tempting Happy Hour deal of 2-for-1 cocktails, and the Tapas deal of five dishes for £24. Our She was happy to advise on portions (five dishes is a filling meal for two, trust me) but we turned down the Happy Hour deal, being responsible professionals.

The décor was fun, an eclectic mix of colourful tiles, low hanging lamps, and a beautiful view over to Magdalene and the River Cam. The bar area often gets pretty busy on a Saturday night with students and locals alike making good use of the various tasty cocktails offered. On this Sunday evening however, it was pleasantly quiet.

Following our server’s advice, we opted for the Tapas Time deal, ordering Gambas (prawns in a sauce) Calamares (fried squid), Pato Taquito (duck wrapped in a tortilla), Albondigas (lamb meatballs) and Empanadas (lamb and mint pasty). Sadly, they had run out of Calamares, and of the lamb Empanadas. Interpret this how you will – fresh ingredients, or just an unexpected number of lunch customers? Anyway, with our excitement slightly marred, we doubled up on the Gambas and Pato Taquito, and awaited our food.

It arrived fairly quickly, and looked utterly wonderful. I got stuck in with the duck Taquito, which was pretty good, with a really delicious cranberry salsa that had a vinegary kick to it. Kat meanwhile got started with the gambas: prawns cooked in butterfly shells and swimming in a garlic, lemon and chilli sauce, with a slice of ciabatta on the side. She looked troubled, and said it was too spicy, so we swapped dishes. The prawn sauce was flavoursome but very hot (note ‘chilli’ on the menu). I battled on, cheeks aflame, but only managed a little of the Albondigas (lamb meatballs cooked with apple, mint, parmesan and nutmeg) an innovative mix of flavours that I think I might have enjoyed more had I not been suffering from extreme spice.

For £12 each, it was a good deal – the food was filling, well-presented, and different to your usual Hall’s fajita attempt. For those with sensitive taste-buds, we recommend you try some of the other dishes – I’ve heard good reports of the burritos and the burgers. There are also a good selection of gluten-free versions of some dishes, and lots of vegetarian options.