A Birthday Dinner At Las Iguanas, Derby
Sometimes an eatery becomes like a pair of favourite shoes I think; you know comfy, familiar but just a bit taken for granted. I feel it’s the same with restaurants too, so it’s always nice to hear that an old favourite has changed it up a bit. Las Iguanas is one such place - the food is always super-tasty and the service good but the menu needed some newcomers on the block to challenge the oldie-but-goodies.
Our little flock fluttered our way over to derby to sample some Latin gourmet delights, as a belated Birthday Celebration for the Chick. There are plenty of car parks in the vicinity so no stresses on that score, which is always good in my opinion. We made our way inside to the modern bar and tapas area complete with its semi circular booths and perused the cocktail menu (well, I did anyway!). The wooden floors are complimented by muted shades of green on the walls, with vibrant orange and yellow tiling around the bar itself. It has a lovely up-beat, positive vibe that continues into the main restaurant area.
We were greeted by a cheery hello from the Front of House Hostess and shown to our table and handed over to our server, Alice, who was equally welcoming. For our starters we shared 3 dishes from the “Tapas Time“ selection : Pato Taquito ( Shredded Duck and Caramelised Onion Char-grilled in a tortilla with a vibrant, jewel coloured Cranberry Salsa ), Albondigas (Lamb meatballs in a Rich Tomato, Mint and mild Chilli sauce) and the new addition Quesadilla. All our starters were excellent and full of flavour; the lamb meatballs were very tasty, no fattiness at all so the Lamb in them was obviously top quality. The Man Birds Duck just melted in his mouth and the salsa provided that great kick to cut through the rich meat. My Chick was chowing down on her Chicken Quesadillas with much gusto, so they were obviously hitting the mark very nicely :)
With our starters cleared away we were looking forward to our mains. The Boy Wonder opted for Fillet Steak Churrasco Skewers, Chickadee chose Chicken Breast Strip Fajitas and I plumped for Camarao a la Criolla, (another new addition to the menu) which is Prawns in a spicy creamy sauce with a Corn Tortilla and Spring Onion and Garlic Rice. In addition we ordered side orders of Cassava Fries and Refried Beans with Soured Cream and Cheese. We were seated with a great view of the kitchens and could see the flames bursting into life occasionally and smell the mouth-watering aromas first-feather. The Man was very impressed with the quality of the Steak in his dish saying it just disintegrated on his tongue because of its tenderness and my Prawns were the same. Now sometimes with Fajitas you can be served a meat and vegetable mix that is biased towards the vegetables, but the team at Las Iguanas most certainly do not fall in to this category. The size of the Chicken breast used was definitely generous, and my Chick filled each of her tortillas to bursting point. All of her accompaniments came in separate bowls too, rather than little piles on one plate, which I thought was a nice touch, and there was plenty of them as well.
At this point in the proceedings to say our crops were suitably stuffed would be a smidge of an understatement ; but as you know, in the interests of a comprehensive review , we do strive to sample at least one item from each course . It will be no surprise to hear that the Chick went for the Aztec Chocolate Fudge Cake, and I did think that The Boy Wonder would follow suit. However, he surprised me and chose the Creamy Caramel Cake, which I had considered opting for before changing my mind and selecting the Tembleque (again, a new kid on the menu block). The Fudge Cake and Caramel Cake is fairly self explanatory, but I feel I should elaborate on my Tembleque (pronounced Tem-bleh-kay). It is a Creamy set Coconut pudding topped with mixed Berries and Mango Puree, and it had a lighter composition than I was expecting. There were little pieces of coconut flesh in the main pudding to give a little bit of texture in what was an otherwise smooth dessert and the Berries and Mango added a bit of twang to the fairly neutral taste of the Coconut. I’m really glad I decided to give it a whirl as it exceeded my expectations a thousand –fold, although it apparently has won an award in a competition.
Throughout our evening Alice kept coming back and checking that everything was to our liking with the food and kept a discreet eye on the levels of our drinks, offering to get more when we were running low. Nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff we dealt with, and the premises were spotlessly clean. There was even a member of staff at the kitchen pass checking each plate before it was served to fellow foodies - now that’s what I call attention to detail and pride in your product !
So even if you’ve been to Las Iguanas before it is more than worth a revisit as there are plenty of new things to try, not just food but also the drinks menu which was pretty extensive.
So all that is left for me to say, in what is becoming our signature, is “ Hot Wings “ ahoy to Team L I