The gently spinning fans, light and airy ambience and sweetly spicy aroma of Las Iguanas only adds to the authenticity of this Latin American restaurant chain. Unlike most of its competitors, Las Iguanas has much more than the standard offer of burritos and fajitas to tempt the palate. The menu is rich in flavour and diversity, offering everything from tapas to Brazilian specialities. The only difficult experience of eating here was trying to decide what to pick. Eventually we decided to forego all difficulties and order five dishes, because, why not? Another highlight of the Las Iguanas dining experience is their generous all day 2 for 1 happy hour. With such an incredible deal, how could any hour here be anything other than happy? The cocktails on offer are some of the best I’ve ever had. We opted for non-alcoholic beverages because we’re boring fourth years with a bucketload of deadlines, but they were still equally delicious. I’d recommend the Raspberry Cooler.
We opted to share three sides in order to sample as much as we could of what Las Iguanas has to offer. Their new dish, the Havana Club and Jerk BBQ Glazed Pork Ribs, was absolutely divine and a welcome addition to the menu. The glazing on the ribs was sweet and rich without being overpowering, and the meat perfectly tender. The only problem was our idiocy in not ordering more. The gambas (prawns, for those non linguists) were exceptional, largely because of the garlic, lemon and chilli sauce that accompanied them. More soup than sauce, it was accompanied by warm ciabatta for us to dip into and really savour the taste. Surprisingly spicy and with a wonderful lemony zest, the sauce-soup hybrid was a delicious accompaniment. Our third starter consisted of two lamb empanadas, accompanied by an absolutely delicious cranberry salsa, which I will definitely be attempting, and probably failing, to replicate at home. The starters were a delicious decision but be warned, five to share between two is probably sufficient in itself as a main meal.
Our main dishes were the Picanha, an 8oz rump steak, and the Ximxim, a Brazilian classic that was recommended to us. Both were vastly different, showcasing what Las Iguanas has to offer, but equally divine. The steak was cooked to perfection, and just as I had requested, and I chose to accompany it with chipotle butter (because how could you not?) and a mixture of sweet potato and cassava fries. The fries soaked into the steak juices beautifully and, topped with the butter, blended seamlessly together to create one hell of a sensory experience. The Ximxim was equally delectable: a staple of Las Iguanas, the customer favourite consisted of chicken and crayfish in a creamy lime and peanut sauce with spring onion rice, fine green beans, coconut shavings and sweet plantain. Apart from the plantain, the dish was a bold choice for me as I normally shy away from creamy sauces and fish. As it turns out, crayfish is very similar to prawns (which I love) and the sauce transpired to be one of the best things I have ever tasted in my life. A staple for a reason, the Ximxim is Las Iguanas star dish: with a spicy kick and a zesty flavour, with just the right hint of peanut so as not to be overpowering, the dish juggles flavours as exceptionally as I fail to juggle my coursework. To top it off, the staff were incredibly friendly and the service excellent. We never had to wait long for our food, and even if we had the experience would have been well worth it.