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12 Cabot Square
0203 026 5118
Spanish powerhouse Ibérica has moved tapas on from a tick list of ordinary nibbles to specialities worth toasting with a glass of vintage cava. The group’s executive chef Nacho Manzano (winner of three Michelin stars) directs the kitchen, reprising his own signature dishes and putting them alongside some new-century tapas. Current Ibérica classics range from a gazpacho of red berries, beetroot and anchovy to spring onion tempura with lemon aïoli and soy, an oxtail ‘sandwich’ with potato cream, and near-legendary chorizo lollipops with pear aïoli, while the selection of cheeses, cured meats and preserved fish honours Spain’s centuries-old gastronomic traditions. Meanwhile, set menus and sharing dishes (including various paellas) provide another way in to the experience. Drinks cover the spectrum of Spanish booze from beer, cider and sangria to bespoke G&Ts, vermouths, countless sherries and sparklers by the glass.
To celebrate the Year of the Woman, SquareMeal is running a series of interview profiles with top female chefs. Read here about Marianne Lumb’s colourful career as a private chef and the benefits of operating one of London’s smallest kitchens.
Best in Docklands
From: 26 March 2018
To: 31 December 2019
Look for the "£" icon when booking (offers only available on certain days/times)
12 Cabot Square
0203 026 5118
West Ferry Quay Station 62m
West India Quay Tube Station 173m
Cabot Square 174m
Mon-Sat 11.30am-11pm Sun 11.30am-4pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
Must admit my expectations weren’t great, mainly driven by their constant reminders that there was a 2-hour limit on our table, which is guaranteed to wind me up, even when I had no particular plan to linger longer than the stipulated time in any case. As it turned out, we overstayed our welcome by around 10 minutes, and guess what, nothing bad happened…..In fact there were a number of empty tables around 8:30 on a wintry March evening, so perhaps it may be worth Iberica staff paying attention to the reservations it has over a particular service to see if it really is worth making customers feel unwelcome before they even step foot into the place! Gripe over, I have to say the food was very good, very good indeed with standouts being the chorizo lollipops (if you overlooked the bland pear alioli sauce that accompanied them), some very oozy croquettes and a quite exceptional mixed platter of cheese and cured meats; although it would have been nice if the staff could have explained what our selection comprised. Menu has lots of very good wines by the glass and overall the dining experience was very enjoyable. The only drawback and it is one that is fairly consistent among small chains at present, was that there was hardly any room at all between the tables. We had to grab hold of bottles and glasses on our table when the occupants of the neighbouring table left to use the facilities, for fear of items toppling over in their wake!
Food + drink: 2
Not the first time I have been to this restaurant. Very disappointing this time around. Spoke to the Manageress when it came for us to pay and she apologised that we had not enjoyed our food. She wanted to put things right and took 50% off the bill and also invited us back for a free lunch / dinner. Probably not going to take her up on her offer to be honest. In addition, on day we visited, they had run out of a load of choices, including their mixed meet and cheese dish which I found surprising. Would probably give it another go at some stage but as there are other tapas restaurants on the Wharf, Iberica will not be my first choice. Such a shame really as I have had great food there before.
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.
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Lunch: 3 tapas £15 per person
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