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Summer at Ibérica – Tasting at Canary Wharf:
There are venues where I know, without hesitation, that the food will be delicious. Places I seek out for myself if I need a quick bite to eat and where I take my friends if they want a recommendation. Ibérica is firmly in that category – I’ve been to all their London outlets several times. In fact, Ibérica at Canary Wharf used to be the ‘odd one out’ with a more contemporary feel and less space to actually eat. They’ve had a facelift though and there is now more seating and a vintage Spanish feel about the place. There’s also Ibérica La Terraza, a pretty outdoor terrace in the square just in front of the restaurant. An invitation to taste their summer menu was quickly accepted – a chance to try a whole selection of dishes washed down with plenty of Spanish wine.
Chef César García is a gentle, enthusiastic champion of Spanish cuisine. The seasonal dishes which appear on the Ibérica menu are always innovative, full of flavour and yet somehow definitely Spanish. This particular evening was a showcase of summery salads, cold soups and grilled meats and fish, all served up with Ibérica Spanish flair
We started indoors in the main restaurant with cold soups and salads. I particularly liked the Salmorejo puree with apple granite – sweet, ripe tomatoes contrasted with a pop-in-the-mouth taste sensation from the granite.
Red berry gazpacho was light, piquant and refreshing too
Russian salad was lighter in texture and yet more substantial than the hackneyed version
The pear, spinach and blue cheese salad was delicious and I suspect something I’ll be copying at home.
I love foie. Here, with a sticky balsamic dressing on a watercress and mixed leaf salad, it was a wicked indulgence.
This rather stunning looking dish is sea trough with Ajo Blanco (a classic mixture of bread almond and garlic) and pitu sauce
Outside on the Terraza, we stopped briefly to admire the Josper, before taking our places for a kind of interlude in the form of Tigres (mussels in white bechamel sauce coated in breadcrumbs and served on the shell. One each! I could have managed the entire plateful.
Two fish dishes followed on
I particularly enjoyed the baby monkfish with cider vinegar and potato puree. Fresh from the grill, it was simple and yet so perfectly balanced with just a touch of char that I’d have eaten the same again.
Fillet of mackerel with an escabeche and clam sauce was delicate and softer than the escabeche I’ve tried in Portugal.
On to something of a meat fest – all cooked on the josper. Three different cuts of Iberico pork – Pluma, Albanico and Secreto were all served medium and dressed with a garlic, paprika and parsley sauce.