We were soon to be heading off to Brazil and thought we would have a get-together to finalise our plans. London is a half-way house meeting point for us and to get us into Brazilian mood we decided that a Latin American restaurant would be a good choice. Ideally one that had Brazilian dishes on the menu.
Convenient for both of us to reach we chose Las Iguanas in London’s Spitalfields Market. We wandered in and were warmly welcomed by two guys in the downstairs bar, who, when we said we wanted lunch, sent us up to the restaurant on the first floor. We were greeted by the delightful Alexis who explained the menu to us.
We decided we had to start with a cocktail – and what could be more Brazilian than a caipirinha. (Las Iguanas actually have their own cachaça, the sugar cane fire water, the integral part of a caipirinaha. The restaurant chiefly serves it with a lime base, but there are other variations as we were to discover in Brazil.
Cachaça, which translates as ‘little country hick’ or ‘country bumpkin’, is also known as ‘parati’, ‘canina’, ‘branquinha’, ‘aguardente de cana’, ‘pinga’ or ‘maldava’ and quality ranges from real ‘firewater’ to aged caramel and butterscotch flavoured varities. By Brazilian law the A.B.V. (alcohol by volume) of cachaça must be between 38-54%, so be warned it is pretty strong stuff.
Guided by Alexis we shared a tapas starter before moving on to our main course (there are a number of sharing plates on the menu). Our meal was tasty, and well cooked – soft, moist chicken and not-overcooked fish. Las Iguanas offers an interesting and very varied menu, with affordable prices especially if you opt for one of its 241 Happy Hours daily and all day Sunday to Wednesday, options.
We had had a tasty, relaxed, (no pressure to clear the table), lunch with delightful service and as we left we agreed we would go back.
Indeed we did return, partly to plan our return visit to Brazil, and also to try the new Autumn menu. Alexis was on holiday so it fell to Mark to talk us through the new menu which included Camarao de Calabaza, a butternut squash baked and stuffed with peeled prawns and melted cheese; slow-braised Pollo con Chorizo, and a Veggie Chilli containing sweet potato and squash.
Of course, we had a caipirinha. We were tempted by the Pear Drop caipirinha variation, but settled for our regular lime favourite instead. www.iguanas.co.uk