This week I went for a meal at Las Iguanas up in Clifton. I had imagined that the place would be a lot like Nandos, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
As soon as you walk in you are greeted with a warm, softly lit, friendly setup. The bar is surrounded by comfortable, vibrant sofas decorated with jazzy pillows, and the bar itself is impressively well stocked. Its extensive cocktail list, themed drinks and it’s beautifully long happy ‘hour’ exceeded all expectations. If I hadn’t have been given a discount card in fresher’s week, I don’t think I would have been able to tell that the restaurant was part of a chain.
After everyone arrived, we ordered two pitchers of cocktails to share and sat down with some chips and dip. The menu offered a variety of South-American dishes which ranged from tapas to authentic tortilla platters. Alongside the main menu was a list of specials which was interesting by itself, but the quirky descriptions of all the food just made it a whole lot better.
From this list I ordered the Camarão de calabaza. Which, as they describe it, is an “immaculately baked butternut squash bursting with peeled prawns, in a spiced tomato and melted cheese sauce, snuggled up to spring onion & garlic rice, crowned with a whole prawn & crispy rosemary to crumble over.”
I hadn’t quite understood what I had asked for as just before ordering, the whole table realised that we were about ten minutes out of the tapas ‘happy hour’ and so had to choose something else. Despite the fact that I hadn’t had enough time to read the description, this panic buy worked out well and I was impressed with the dish that arrived soon after.
The best thing about this was being able to eat the ‘bowl’. During the summer, when I was interrailing with E, we ate goulash in Berlin’s John Lennon pub, with V and his friends, out of a hollowed out round of bread – and the butternut squash made me think of that. There’s something extremely exciting about being able to completely clear the plate, it’s like a Heston Bloomington twist on what could otherwise have been a relatively ordinary meal.
Afro Latin Party