So you hear the words ‘this restaurant has had a refurb’ and it doesn’t exactly make you jump for joy. A lick of paint and some new furniture doesn’t exactly cut it, and you go along feeling a little disappointed with the same old, same old.
But, not so the case with Las Iguanas in The Hub. When they say ‘refurb’ they mean ‘REFURB’! And they’ve even thrown in a whole new menu to boot.
The very first thing you notice when walking across The Hub’s main piazza is the huge new chunky, wooden frame pergola which gives a really nice outdoor area, all festooned in lights at the moment but we’re sure it’ll get a lot of use when the summer comes back around again.
Inside, the changes are evident as soon as you step through the door…the bar has moved! Yes, the whole bar…instead of being on one side of the space, it’s now been positioned in the middle, which works really well, using the bar as a barrier between revellers drinking cocktails and listening to the loud-ish music, and on the other side the restaurant area where you want to sit and enjoy your meal.
The new layout works really well, and we overheard a number a customers comment on the vibrant new décor that has come with the refurb. It’s obviously in-keeping with the Latin-America vibe, bright and earthy – emulating the back streets of Buenos Aires.
But what about that new menu? Well, it certainly didn’t disappoint, especially as one of the first things we noticed was that ‘Happy Hour’ has turned into ‘Happy All Day’. That’s right, all cocktails (glasses or pitchers) are 2FOR1 all day, every day…and the cocktail list is very tempting. From the classic Caipirinha to the sizzling hot Malibu Swizzle, all the way to the Zombie Skull, we reckon they’ve got you covered.
The food menu is large but not over-whelming. We, unsurprisingly were drawn to look at the desserts first, which helped us decide on not having a starter this time around. So, we headed straight for the mains.
First up The Buenos Aires Burger (which has won a National Award) 100% prime short rib and chuck beef patty topped with…well, probably easier to list what it doesn’t have on it. Served on a toasted brioche bun with coleslaw and a choice of fries or salad (we went for fries…obvs). It’s very plain to see and taste why it’s an award winner, just divine, it didn’t last very long on the plate.
Now, to be brutally honest, the other main was picked purely because we couldn’t pronounce it and that, in our book, means it has to be tried. It is called ‘Xinxim’ which the waitress reliably told us was pronounced ‘Chim-Chim’ but said with flare. A dish from northern Brazil, it’s chicken and crayfish (not your normal combination, granted) in a creamy lime and peanut sauce served with spring onion rice, fine green beans, coconut farofa and sweet plantain. We still had no idea what the coconut farofa was, even after it arrived, a bit like ground up coconut in a little pot – but the rest was AMAZING. Not spicy (which suited us) but the flavours were incredible.
And so on to the desserts, when in South America, you must have Churros served with chocolate dipping sauce of course…happy days. Plus, we also tried the banana empanada; crisp pastry filled with banana, sweet plantain and dulce de leche. Topped off with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of rum-flavoured syrup, don’t mind if we do. Heaven on a plate.
Safe to say, we really enjoyed ourselves – the refurb has worked really well and gives the venue a lighter, brighter feel but still keeping that South American vibe. The menu is truly wonderful, loads of dishes we want to go back and try having seen them go past us and on to other tables. We’ll definitely be back, even if it’s just so we can order a ‘Chim-Chim’ very loudly, as now we know how to pronounce it ??
For more info visit www.iguanas.co.uk or call 01908 251040.