REVIEW: Ibérica, Victoria
WHAT? From plates of pinchos (tiny tapas) to lunchtime bocadillos via paella and buckets of red wine, you can eat your way around Spain at this chain of rather excellent restaurants.
WHERE? With locations in London, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow there are plenty of opportunities to try Ibérica, but we stopped by the Victoria outpost on a drizzly Wednesday afternoon.
Immediately warm and welcoming, we were ushered upstairs to roomy booth lit up by giant light fixtures, where we got stuck into the 70-strong wine list – finally choosing a bottle of fruity Finca Constancia Tempranillo while perusing the menu.
Everything here is carefully considered; the Jamon Iberico benefits from free-range, acorn-fed Iberian pig and the charcuterie is top quality, whilst artisan cheeses are carefully selected from the finest Spanish producers.
We began with a plate of Juan Pedro Domecq Iberico hailing from Jabugo (Huelva), four-times awarded three gold stars as the best Iberico ham. Next, fried baby squid with aioli, Gavin’s garlic prawns ‘with a sauce to dip bread in non-stop’ (an accurate description) and hearty venison meatballs with apple purée.
Moreish patatas bravas were smothered in delicious sauce, tangy Padron peppers salted to perfection and Serrano ham croquetas impossible to resist. The star dish has to be the Ibérica Burgers – two secreto pork sliders with pickled Piparra peppers, just about bitesize. A creamy, filling Spanish omelette rounded off our order, the ideal defense against spicier dishes.
We’d recommend Ibérica in a heartbeat, with reliably good food, smiling service and large dining halls that shouldn’t get booked up too quickly – perfect for a midweek treat.