Las Iguanas, Leeds – Restaurant Review
Las Iguanas, Leeds
by Steve Crabtree / @stevecrab
There’s a new menu gong down at the Latin American themed Las Iguanas, and after entering the packed Leeds restaurant one Friday night it seems to already be proving a hit.
Just down the side of the Corn Exchange, we sauntered across town after work, and could see before we’d got there that we had a full house. It looked like it was going to be a great start to our weekend, and we were welcomed in by Maddie and Christina. After a smiley chat, we were ushered to a fantastic table in the window. And already the atmosphere in Las Iguanas was like landing in a party.
“It’s Friday night and it’s happy hour”
We’d warmed to Maddie’s sense of humour straight away. Both her and Christina knew everything about the place, and especially what was on tonight’s menu.
My friend and I decided we were having a main course and a couple of cocktails. After all, it’s Friday night and it’s happy-hour so cocktails are buy one, get the same again free. (It’s always happy hour by the way!). We figured it would be a nice way to start our evening, and the vibe was already making us think about staying out a little longer.
I decided to go for my favourite Long Island Iced Tea (£10.95 for two), with my friend deciding to go for the more extravagant option. His Creme Bomb with Jamaican Rum, banana and cream was topped with a Cream Egg, and also cost £10.95 for two. (A full cream egg in two drinks! How do you drink yours?!)
And while we waited for them to arrive we had a good look over the food options. What I like about the menu at Las Iguanas is that it includes dishes from all over South America, and splits them up in to countries. There was a lot to look at – from Mexico to Brazil, and Argentina to Peru and beyond.
“Both main dishes looked delightful”
My friend decided to order the Xinxim from the Brazilian menu for £14.95. My eyes kept returning to the Dominican Goat Curry, which was a pound cheaper. Maddie told us that the Xinxim was a Las Iguanas favourite, and had been on the menu for years. She also said the Goat Curry was new, and first came on to the scene here at Christmas. So we were looking forward to our dishes arriving and tucking in.
The first cocktails had gone down nicely, and we were about to start on the second when the food came. Plated up very nicely, both main dishes looked delightful. That latin flare you’d expect to see was here in abundance, and we’d got two exciting, colourful plates.
Now, it isn’t like me to not read the menu properly, but on this occasion I’d failed. I wish I’d taken note, as my Dominican Goat Curry was lovely, with the tender meat so very nicely cooked. But it was hot. Very hot. And had I have read the warning on the menu, I’d have stayed away from it. The first half of the dish was really nice, and the flavours flowed through the entire dish of scotch bonnet chilli curry with spring onion, rice, fried plantain and pink pickled onions.
But the more I ate, the more my mouth gave me a facial pounding. The heat was a bit over powering for me, despite the addition of a bit of sour cream. If you love your hot and spicy foods, this will be for you. And although I like spicy, I need to wuss my heat levels down a bit from this. A massive shame, but all the fault of this too-keen Goat Curry devourer!
My friend though, he won tonights bragging rights on decisions. His XinXim brought with it Chicken & crayfish in a creamy lime & peanut sauce. On the side was spring onion rice, fine green beans, coconut farofa and sweet plantain. And he loved it. The meat and fish were juicy, and the flavour just perfect. I did have a little taste myself, and it’s obvious why it’s been a staple part of the Las Iguanas menu for so long.
My second Long Island Iced Tea was a cold, refreshing God send to my mouth that was still feeling the effects from my tasty, but fire-fuelled dish.
But we had no complaints about our visit to Las Iguanas. The staff here are fantastic, the atmosphere is too and it’s clean and does great food. The cocktails are fantastic as well, and they did the trick. They led us in to having a few more hours in the City night life.
I’ll be coming back to Las Iguanas again soon, that’s for sure. But I’ll read the menu properly next time, and make sure I order something my mouth can handle!
Las Iguanas, 3 Cloth Hall St, Leeds LS1 2HD
Mon-Thu 12 noon-11pm
Fri-Sat 12 noon-11:30pm
Sun 12 noon- 10:30pm
0113 243 9533