Spanish powerhouse Ibérica champions bold flavour combinations with its tempting tapas menu. This is no tick list of ordinary nibbles – here you’ll find 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 small plates.
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.
Desserts ought not to be missed, as they include the same rich cheesecake that’s served in Nacho Manzano’s Gloria restaurant, which is crafted with raspberry sorbet, quince and shaved Zuheros sheeps cheese from Andalucía; caramelised Spanish rice pudding and, everyone’s favourite, churros con chocolate. Drinks cover the spectrum of Spanish booze from beer, cider and sangria to bespoke G&Ts, vermouths, countless sherries and at least five by-the-glass cavas.
The Leeds branch of Ibérica is particularly handsome, making it a popular spot for special occasion dining. Housed within the historic Hepper House, a Grade II -listed former auction house built in the 19th Century, the space is bright and airy with high ceilings and stunning chandeliers. The skylight runs the entire length of the main dining room, flooding the restaurant with natural light throughout the day, while well-appointed plants, prints and pendant lamps add character and style. The bar area is similarly impressive with plenty of shiny surfaces and a range of seating. Even the bathrooms here are spectacular!
Large groups can opt for a long table in the main dining room or hire out the private Hepper Room.