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Spanish importers-turned-restaurateurs Ibérica care about two things: food & hospitality. The large corner site features an intimate mezzanine space (the Caleya Dining Room), but most customers
prefer the newly decorated ground floor with its oversized lamps, blue-and-white tiles & shelves of tip-top produce. Ingredients certainly dictate proceedings, & the menu runs the gamut of
regional Spanish cooking, from breads, charcuterie & cheeses to rugged peasant dishes such as tortilla or gutsy fabada (an Asturian white bean & blood-sausage stew). There are also some
modish creations courtesy of Michelin-starred exec chef Nacho Manzano. A gazpacho of red berries & beetroot with a dollop of cream cheese & slivers of anchovy is light & summery, while
a crackling-topped slice of Segovian suckling pig on a bed of apple purée has also won praise. The intriguing wine list promises a good selection of bottles imported directly from boutique Spanish
Restaurant decor in London seems to have fallen into a Shoreditch-inspired rut. Bare light bulbs, reclaimed furniture, exposed concrete and brick walls – I’m bored of it all. The interior of Iberica’s Marylebone branch is therefore a breath of fresh air - both the ground floor and the mezzanine are decorated with handsome Spanish tiles and lanterns. The Randy Northerner was sure that the place popped up in an episode of W1A, but The Flame Haired Squelchie, Boris Bike and I were more concerned with ordering as much as the menu as we could in one sitting.The Randy Northerner is lactose intolerant, but his attempts to get the staff to point out which dishes were suitable for him to eat (beyond the obvious, of course) were either ignored or met with incomprehensible mumblings. He was left to his own devices and therefore deprived himself out of over cautiousness. Given the clientele of suits and moneyed tourists, such inept service was surprising. Professional hospitality at its finest.We started off with a small platter of jamon. The waxy flakes of beher etiqueta oro was mildly sweet, while the Juan Pedro Domecq started off with a fruity taste and ended with a nutty finish. My favourite had to be the Covap Alta Expresión though – a layer of creamy fat and a salty taste mildly reminiscent of soy sauce...
More from The Picky Glutton »
Iberica recently opened a second restaurant in Canary Wharf, but we decided to visit the original restaurant in Marylebone. The interior is best described as grand, open and cosy. A great place to spend a relaxing Sunday lunch. There are quite a few extremely good Spanish tapas restaurants in London (e.g., Barrafina, Pizarro, Dehesa, Opera Tavern and Donostia) and Iberica definitely belongs to be in this list. The cooking is original, of very high level and has it’s own distinctive twist...
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