Monday, 14 March 2016

Iberica, Victoria

Spanish food is one of my absolute favourite ways of eating; lots of small plates.

A couple of weeks back, I spent a few hours in the Victoria area with Bridget waiting for my passport, and in the evening Glen joined us for a lovely meal at Iberica in the Zig Zag Building.

Firstly the staff were incredibly welcoming and accommodating of us with the buggy and our rather mischievous 17-month old toddler which is always a good start. We love to eat out but some of our pre-child favourites restaurants aren't very child-friendly. 

The waiter took us through the menu knowledgably, and when we ordered he told us we were ordering a dish or two more than we needed; not that this deterred us.

We ordered the half and half cured meats and cheese selection. The cheeses included mild and creamy manchego (Bridget's favourite) and Urgell; and a softer, smokier one, of which the name escapes me - all equally delicious. The cured meats included spicy chorizo, a really tasty fuet de vic (slithers of a sausage made from the belly and loin of the pig) and the classic lomo or cured pork loin - all delicious and each bringing something different to this delicious board. Accompaniments included quince and Membrillo jelly and complemented the cheeses perfectly. A great start. 

Half and Half Cured Meats and Cheese and Pan Con Tomate

Another board included the pan con tomate or lightly toasted crusty bread topped with flavourful tomatoes. This was good too, but I make this quite often at home and prefer the tomatoes to have a little more bite rather than this paste-like consistency, discussions with a Spanish colleague informed me that each town in Spain has their own way of doing this so I'm in good company apparently.

The stand out dish for me at Iberica was a plate of grilled prawns with mushrooms, cooked in really fragrant garlic oil and not much else. Stunningly simple. A true example of letting a few great ingredients sing together. I'll be attempting to make this at home. 

Also delicious, was the Chicken Chillindron with rosemary roasted potatoes. The chicken was so soft, tender and juicy it was perfection; and surrounded by a warm and sweet tomato sauce, just stunning. The roasted potatoes were tiny, but delicious morsels too. This was a favourite for the three of us. 

Chicken Chillindron

Another great dish was the Iberico Pork Sliders - mini burgers, so moist and tasty and served in brioche buns with a mustard dressing and a pepper - they were only a couple of mouthfuls each, but very, very good ones. 

Iberico Pork Sliders

Glen's favourite dish was the Venison Meatballs which were in a rich a gravy. I'm not fond of venison but did have a nibble and they had plenty of flavour and weren't dry at all, as is often the case.

Venison Meatballs

We also had patatas bravas - roasted potatoes topped with an unctuous, almost sliky and creamy tomato sauce, some plump Manzanilla olives, and Serrano ham croquettes or croquettas served with a strong and superb aioli, again a great dish. 

Serrano Ham Croquettas

This was a fantastic meal and with a Mahou, several soft drinks and a glass of Olorosso sherry came in with service at under £80 which I thought was reasonable given the various dishes.

We love taking Bridget out to eat with us and think it's really important that we do so she learns great table manners and social skills and I never worry about what she might eat as there is always something. I also think it's super important to encourage children to eat lots of different types of foods. Here at Iberica she absolutely loved the ham croquettas, the manchego, the pan con tomate and the meatballs. I had to cut them in half to remove the stone but she also had a few Manzanilla olives with me. She is a true baby or toddler foodie and long may it continue.

There are tons of Spanish style restaurants around London and here are a few tips for some of my favourite dishes or drinks at some of them.

1. The crab croquettas at Barrafina, Adelaide Street are sensational
2. Jose's original Bermondsey tapas bar has the best pan con tomate I've ever had
3. Pix in Soho offers the most wonderful Sangria
4. The Opera Tavern serves simply stunning Iberico Burgers

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