In Chains – Las Iguanas:
The South Bank used to have very little in terms of restaurants. But, there was a major refurbishment a few years ago and the place is now full of places to eat. It’s an area I know quite well and I have walked past Las Iguanas on a number of occasions. It always looks busy and lively – a great sign for a Brazilian restaurant and bar and I’ve been tempted to go in before now. So I was really pleased to be asked to review – and since the main reason I haven’t actually gone in so far is that the clientele in the evenings tends to be young I asked my god daughter. She’d really rather we went to Brazil (and so would I), but I don’t have my magic wand to hand at the moment. Until that happens, lunch at Las Iguanas seemed like a good alternative.
We ordered a couple of cocktails to start, in my case a rather excellent smoked margarita, a Gran Centenario Anjo tequila with lime, orange and agave. My god daughter had a driving lesson a bit later so ordered alcohol free cocktails and seemed to really enjoy them.
Now, the god daughter tends towards vegetarian food. But, when suitably encouraged, meat does feature on her personal menu. And as a true carnivore I see part of my role to try and tempt her.
We started off well.
Holy guacamole was a kind of deconstructed Guacamole, where you get each of the ingredients as little heaps. And mix everything together. Nice, but perhaps a little misguided because for me at least, part of the significance of mixing ingredients is to allow the flavours to blend together – and that simply won’t happen if you have a DIY version.
Pan Ajillo is a garlic ciabatta with coriander and chilli added in. Really rather a good thing to nibble on.
My main course was the house recommendation, the extraordinary xinxim. It was a remarkably successful lightly spicy lime chicken in a crayfish and peanut sauce with spring onions, garlic and coriander rice with fine green beans. It came in a pretty earthenware dish on it’s own little earthenware warmer
The rice arrived with a tiny portion of caramelised sweet plantains. Very delicious and very morish, it was almost good enough to just eat alone.
And at this point, I managed to momentarily convert the vegetarian!
The god daughter’s Chicken Fajitas was a generous portion of fresh chicken breast strips and peppers, with a selection of fillings – guacamole, soured cream, jalapenos and salsa with some soft tortillas. I actually had food envy for a while! For those purists, there is a vegetarian option. But the chicken fajitas looked delicious and the entire platter went!
Las Iguanas seems a good, relaxed and friendly place to eat and drink. While the food we had was not exceptional, it was considerably better than ‘ordinary’. I can understand why it’s so busy in the evenings. And, I’ll certainly be back at some point in the future, if only to bags my own fajitas and perhaps have another of the lovely smoked margarita cocktails!
London SE1 8XX