Las Iguanas, Leeds – Restaurant Review

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Las Iguanas, Leeds

Restaurant Review

by Kerryn Duckworth

Founded in Bristol, the first Las Iguanas opened in 1991. Offering a diverse Latin American-themed menu, the brand now has a strong presence around the Country with the Leeds site nestled neatly on Cloth Hall Street opposite the Corn Exchange and a few doors down from Red’s True BBQ.

Most recently its New Autumn menu has arrived with over a dozen new dishes. Each offer a unique taste of South America with inspiration from across the Continent.

On entering the venue, my friend and I are greeted and we go straight to our seats; a round booth table near the back of the room overlooking the rest. A perfect people watching spot! We are presented with the menu and neatly broken down into South American favourites by region with a helpful ‘new’ tag next to the latest additions to the menu launched on our visited evening. Our server Neil is relaxed and forthcoming with ideas and recommendations and has had the opportunity to taste the new menu, furthering his already impressive knowledge of the food offerings.

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“Refreshing”

We opt for the tapas (five tapas for £25.95 or items listed with individual prices) with a starter and side but all coming out at once when they’re ready in true tapas style. During the wait for the food, we take the time to admire the room around us. Bright orange, browns and greens adorn the walls and the restaurant is filled with tables and booths with a large semi-circular bar area to the left of the entrance. It’s a great place to wait for your party, or simply get a drink before dining and peruse the endless menu or favourites and classics.

What makes these cocktails taste even better is they are 2-for-1. Not in a happy hour or restricted times… but ALL THE TIME. All day every day! Unfortunately as both designated drivers, we opt for the recommended mocktails. The Spiced Ginger Punch (£4.95) is spritely and tangy, it’s both sweet and refreshing in equal measures.

The food arrives and the big round table is needed. The dishes range from small bowls to large plates and each one is hot and fresh and just waiting to be eaten. These plates are made for sharing so arms and fingers start darting around the table ready to tuck in and morsels of food start filing our side plates ready to taste. The Nachos with Shredded Chipotle Beef (£9.50) are crispy and stacked with beef. My only comment – more guacamole and more sour cream – this is the best bit.

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“Vibrant”

The Pato Taquito (£6.25) duck and caramelised wraps are served with a tangy cranberry salsa and brings the dish to life. Vibrant in colour and taste this salsa is the perfect accompaniment to the duck. The Chicken Wings (£6.30) are crispy and the honey bbq sauce gives a little kick just enough to remind you that you’re eating in a South American restaurant. Whilst the Dadinhos (£5.50) fried cheese cubes are crispy and soft in the middle they are slightly overshadowed by all the other tasty treats on offer.

Now, what Neil does highly recommend is the starter of Huancaina (£7.95); a gooey smoky cheese fondue with crispy patatas bravas to dunk. Just the right consistency so the cheese sits on top of the potato and makes its way right into my mouth before it drips off. The potatoes in itself are crispy and are also a great way to soak up the sauce on the Albondigas (£6.25). These lamb meatballs are meaty, juicy and smothered in rich tomato based sauce, with flavours of apple and mint running through.

What would now be easily overlooked is the side dish of Humitas (£2.95); a sweetcorn puree as recommended by our waiter. It’s creamy and smooth and so full of flavour and, like a dip, some nachos are required to scoop the last bits from the bowl.

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“Full of families”

The place is pretty much full. And for a Tuesday night before payday this is no mean feat. Maybe it’s the students that have all descended on Leeds this week, but the tables are full of families, friends and young couples eating or gazing at the mouth-watering menu. It’s our turn again, this time for desserts. With the amount consumed, there’s little room left, but my friend and I share a Pina Colada Mess (£5.50). It’s creamy and juicy and a real palate cleanser. The pina colada ice cream is fruity and tastes just like the real thing. If only it included a hot sunny beach and a sea view!

With the Christmas party season soon approaching, this is the perfect place for meeting drinks, a group meal or just a simple bite to eat with friends or family. The service and style of Las Iguanas is relaxed, fun and a bargain for a meal for two and I will no doubt be returning, namely to test those 2-for-1 cocktails!

Las Iguanas, Unit 3, Cloth Hall Street, Leeds, LS1 2HD

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu 10am-11pm
Fri-Sat 10am-11:30pm
Sun 10am-10:30pm

0113 243 9533
iguanas.co.uk/restaurants/leeds

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