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|Address:||12 Cabot Square, London E14 4QQ|
|Tel:||020 3589 2110|
|Price: £51.00||Wine: £19.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 11.30am-11pm Sun 12N-4pm|
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I can't quite work Iberica out. The heavy hand of the branding experts is obvious, with the big fat legs of prosciutto ham placed strategically at the entrance so you walk past them, with the bull image and the carefully researched “authentic” typeface on the wall-posters and menus, with the well chosen leather bucket seats and rustic tables and bright chandeliers; every element has been carefully thought through. It feels like a sanitised version of Spain, one which only exists in the English mind, because it doesn't look like any taverna I've ever been to in Spain. But then up the stairs, in a helpful play area which my godson sniffed out and which seems partly planned with stacks of toys and partly improvised with hastily pushed back tables, all the books are in Spanish, even Peppa Pig. And there are children running around on a Sunday afternoon, all over the restaurant and the staff don't seem to mind a bit and even bring some colouring pens over. Children being seen and heard? That's all rather continental, isn't it? As to the food itself, well we were in the pre-Christmas consumer fug and I was suffering from a cold so I can't really judge but we ordered a fair number of a wide variety of dishes, all of which looked good and tasted, to my muted palette, fine. The usual tapas suspects are there with, of course, iberico ham, some fried seafood things, patatas bravas etc etc as well as a few things you wouldn't expect (I recall some mini burgers). I don't think I'd rush back as, even though there are only 3 Iberica venues (currently, no doubt more coming to a Mall near you soon), it still manages to feel a bit chainy. However, it serves its purpose well, in particular where that purpose is to feed 3 hungry adults and a highly distracted child late on a busy pre-Christmas Sunday afternoon, so in the same circumstances, yes I'd recommend it.