Iberica Victoria London by Paul Conboy from FatFoodClub
Mind-blowing tapas – Stepping into an Iberica restaurant is always quite an experience. There are six restaurants across the UK covering London with Marylebone, Canary Wharf, Victoria and Farringdon. Leeds Iberica represents the north whist La Terraza offers al fresco back in London. The design in each is very typically Spanish and their attention to detail throughout is impressive. The ceilings are tall, expect polished marble surfaces, bottles of wine filling cupboard spaces and lights which drop down to offer a glow over every table. Iberica Victoria, where we were dining, is super stylish, in fact, a quick look at Lázaro Rosa Violán’s work and it is clear to see his influence on designing the space at Iberica Victoria, which is located within London’s iconic Zig Zag building.
Iberica Victoria is over two floors and as we arrived, we were immediately taken to our table, where we could see two glasses of sparkling Spanish Cava (a Vilarnau Brut Reserva) waiting for us as we took our seats; this was a nice touch and one we just were not expecting. We were handed the menus and our service told us about each course, recommending to us a range of tapas that we must try. The menu at Iberica is all about northern Spain with a selection of cured meats, cheeses, tapas and paella, this is a carefully crafted menu, making full use of seasonal ingredients. All of this has been brought together by the mastermind Michelin starred executive head chef Nacho Manzano. He has reached out to more Castile Michelin starred chefs with guest dishes like The Dreamey and Buttery Patatas a la Importancia Con Cecina coming from Yolanda and Juanjo at star holding Cocinandos. Nacho Manzano has done a great job in bringing his own flavours to the menu, expertly combining with exciting guest menus.
We settled down and were recommended first to try the artisan cheese selection. This could not have been a better welcome to the food at Iberica, expect a taste like no other. San Simon, Massimo Rey Silo, a classic Manchego, the blue Peralzola and Sujaira, every mouthful tasted equally brilliant. The Peralzola is quite unique and looks like any other common blue, but its taste made with rich sheeps milk, makes this a knockout and probably one of the best blue cheeses we have eaten. Like much of this menu northern Spain is well championed and the cheeses were a great start to this evening’s food.
Next up, we were invited to try a delicious Trio de Jamones. Now this was no ordinary cured meat. Iberica are sourcing excellent produce and this jamon was made from 100% pure-breed Iberian pig. The Juan Pedro, Covap Alta and Beher Hernandez increase with an intensity of flavour so accustomed to top quality Iberian ham. Each of these are cured from 26 to 42 months and the Juan Pedro at 42 months is noted for having been awarded four times – 3 gold stars as being the best of the best Iberico ham.
The wine was a perfect pairing having earlier chosen a deep and smoky Mestizaje 2018 Merlot, it matched brilliantly with the jamon and tapas. The wines at Iberica are wide ranging and at times you might be quite spoilt for choice. They cover the best regions across Europe but much of it focusses typically on Spain. The northern Castile is very much well celebrated all on its own with excellent offerings from the Rueda, Toro, Ribera Del Duerro and Bierzo regions. This is the kind of thing which Iberica delivers so well on, it has a fine attention to detail celebrating good food from one of the best corners of Spain. The Castile region comes through in every aspect at Iberica from its flawless interior design to the great food and drink.
Our service had been fantastic. Each course was talked through and explained in every detail. The Padron Peppers with sea salt were fresh and almost sweet. We ate delicious Croquetas with serrano ham whilst the Rice Blood Sausage served with a creamy apply puree and roasted red peppers could not have been better. The Pan-fried Octopus and Papada, which came with a delicious and rich chipotle mayonnaise, was probably my personal favourite from the selection of food. The attention to detail cannot be ignored and each plate which arrived came delicately styled and very well presented. It had felt more like being in the Castile than in central London this evening.
We finished our evening in true classic Spanish style eating a shared churro with melted chocolate. It had been fantastic. The northern Castile is brilliantly covered and if you are wanting an evening enjoying the best tapas around, then Iberica should be at the top of your list.
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