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From Asturias to London seasonal tapas featuring game at Ibérica, Victoria
I was happy to attend the launch of the new seasonal tapas menu at Ibérica in Victoria. I had been to the restaurant before with a friend and really enjoyed the food and atmosphere. The head chef of the Ibérica group, Nacho Manzano who runs Casa Marcial (a 2 Michelin starred restaurant in the mountains of Asturias), had flown over especially for the event – a real treat.
Ibérica Victoria is part of the Ibérica group, who run seven restaurants, four of which are in London. It’s an ideal venue to meet with friends, share good food and have a relaxing evening. I always enjoy tapas as you can eat as much as you like without having to order big dishes.
The Victoria restaurant is within easy reach of Victoria train station and the underground. The décor is bright, clean and modern. It’s a popular location and was very busy when I arrived.
The new seasonal menu showcases many game dishes, perfect for this time of year. I love game and happily tucked into each course. We were lucky to have a description for each of the sharing dishes highlighting the ingredients and where they came from.
The first two plates to arrive were aubergines with honey, pine nuts and chives and wild hare croquettes with tartare sauce. I’ve eaten croquettes before but never ones made with hare, they were delicious. These plates were accompanied by a glass of Fino una palma.
The next dish was hake with hollandaise sauce, the fish was perfectly cooked and melted in my mouth. It was paired with Cidre Riestra semi-seca. I love cider, having grown up in the West Country, but have never had it with fish before, it certainly worked.
We then sampled pan fried half quail with a ceps sauce, pickled cranberries and crispy sage, probably my favourite dish it was so flavoursome. This was followed by seared Mallard duck breast with beetroot served four ways and pickled girolles. The wine to accompany these was Pittacum Mencia DO Bierzo 2010.
One of the best things about tapas is that you can try a lot of different small plates. I still had space for the final savoury dish of pan-fried venison loin with Jerusalem artichokes, toasted pine nuts and honey roasted garlic aioli. This was paired with Chivite Reserva Tempranillo DO Navarra 2011.
The dessert was a most interesting flavour combination and something I was looking forward to trying; celery panacotta with apple gel. I would never have thought these ingredients would complement each other – they certainly did. It was smooth and sharp, perfect washed down with a glass of Diamantes de Hielo.
The evening ended with the opportunity to meet the chef Nacho Manzano when he came out of the kitchen to greet us. It was certainly a very memorable evening with exceptional food.
Ibérica has three other restaurants in London as well as the one in Victoria, located in Marylebone, Farringdon and Canary Wharf. For more information on Ibérica Victoria, the other London restaurants, opening hours and the seasonal menu visit http://www.ibericarestaurants.com/ Telephone: London – (0) 207 6368 650