1043 Reviews

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Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2019

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A friend and I chose “Ibérica”:https://www.ibericarestaurants.com/restaurants/ on Great Portland Street for tapas after a matinee performance of Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre (which incidentally, was very good).

Over the years of our friendship, we’ve eaten in so many tapas restaurants we forget which we’ve been to and we often turn up at some where we think is new, look at each other and say “ahh we’ve been here before”. However, we definitely hadn’t been to Ibérica before (there are 4 others in London and restaurants in Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow). As befits their flagship branch, this was a large place on a corner, with an upstairs private room. With floor to ceiling windows and lots of light, it wasn’t the small, dark, intimate place we generally prefer.

On booking, I’d asked for a quiet table as my friend is slightly hard of hearing, and we were shown to a spot slightly away from the bar and the main dining area. She faced a counter of jamón on the bone which one person was dedicated to carving: as she said, not a great view if you’re vegetarian.

“Drinks”:https://www.ibericarestaurants.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/LONDON-drinks-2019-.pdf were ordered whilst I was at the loo and as it was my birthday, I was treated to the wine (the wine list was totally Spanish). It wasn’t until we were sorting out the bill, I realised the Chardonnay was what I thought, an extortionate £44. If I’d known, I might have savoured it more!

Two menus were presented: one “menu”:https://www.ibericarestaurants.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/London-ALC-2019-web-1.pdf with regular tapas favourites and the other, a special for the month of August with dishes from the Galicia region which were “made from the best possible ingredients” (i.e. were more expensive). We were advised to share around 5 tapas and chose some of our favourites: toasted bread with tomato, padron peppers, croquetas with serrano ham, tortilla, a trio of chorizo and Ibérica burgers. We like to think we’re tapas aficionados and we found some dishes more successful than others. The croquetas were served as a generous portion of six, two bite size beauties and with a crisp outside and a gooey soft filling, my friend pronounced “they’re the best croquetas I’ve ever eaten” and she has eaten a lot of them. However, the tortilla was very firm, rather than having a slightly underset middle, and had been made with somewhat hard potato chunks rather than slices.

I felt the service was rather brusque and curt and, as a mystery diner, pointed out numerous examples which would have scored poorly: the chorizo was simply left without the waitress explaining which was the smoky one, the spicy one and the one from 100% Ibérico; empty plates were removed without any form of “can I take this now”; and there was no check back to establish whether we were happy with everything. Finally, after all the plates had been cleared, there was no offer of desserts, drinks etc.

Having got the waitresses attention, we shared a very large portion of churros with a dark chocolate sauce. We asked for a digestif to go with it, and were served Dolç d’en Piqué, a sweet red wine, which wasn’t as good as our usual Pedro Ximénez sherry – we were not presented with the aperitivo “menu.”:https://www.ibericarestaurants.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/LONDON-drinks-2019-.pdf

Our bill, minus the wine, but including service, was £88.

Bearing in mind the lack of atmosphere, variable food and abrupt service, this is one tapas restaurant we’ll try not to return to.

Helen Jackson

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