Whenever I go for tapas I’m reminded of a probably not that amusing exchange I overheard about 12 years ago in the Living Room, Deansgate.
Two, I’m sure lovely, gentlemen were discussing life and loves (although talking about one lady they met on holiday the word ‘love’ may or may not have been used:
Salt of the earth she is, she’ll ‘love’ anything
Anyway, talk turned from this down to earth lady to where they were going to go for dinner .
Clearly inspired by the talk of all things Spanish, one gentlemen declared
I’ve got the perfect place. I know this lovely little Spanish place…
Us earwiggers were filled with visions of a lovely hidden gem, Spanish eatery, known by only the in the know Mancunians, kept secret by loyal diners who wanted to preserve their discovery at risk of it being too popular. We strained our ears further, ready to commit to memory this wonderful little gastronomic tip-off.
Turns out he was talking about La Tasca next door.
Now no offence to La Tasca, but it was pretty much the only ‘little Spanish place’ anyone knew in Manchester in the 2000s (save El Rincon).
We are now spoilt for choice. Spoilt being the word and very much so when describing a recent evening at Iberica, Spinningfields.
Invited to an evening to launch their new Spring Menu, I wondered if the aforementioned gentleman had been. Perhaps he was quietly introducing those in his trusted inner circle to a lovely little trattoria he found, Bella Italia.
I digress (and wish to add my digressive digs are not at the chains I’ve mentioned – there is a place for all).
Now back to the lovely place that is Iberica. A grand venue, the decor and interior was light and spacious which perhaps isn’t what the usual Spanish restaurant aesthetic is but made for an immediately different feel to the tapas experience.
A true celebration of Spanish cuisine, we were introduced to the upcoming evening’s fayre by Nacho Manzano, the Executive Chef for Iberica Restaurants.
And our menu for the evening was thus
Reading like a who’s who (and who we didn’t know was who, but definitely left knowing who they were) of Spanish delicacies, what was to follow didn’t disappoint.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I invite you to immerse yourself in this gallery of Iberican delights…
Jamon Iberico Juan Pedro Domecq
Contemporary Spanish Tapas
Beef tomato and salmorejo
Pear and spinach salad
Cantabric tuna salad
Much Loved Classics
An Iberica Icon
Carmelised Spanish rice pudding
Dish after dish, the combination of the beautifully thought out details and aesthetics were a treat for the senses.
To pick a favourite would be like picking my favourite child. If my child were a Spanish dish, that I’d set upon with just enough dignity to avoid a patatas bravas disaster down the front of my white top.
A weird analogy all round.
But highlights for me from the Contemporary section were the Pear and Spinach salad:
and the Cod brandada:
From the Classics, the Chorizo:
The aptly named Iberica Icon, Pluma – here I must add that I’ve never eaten pork like it. In a good way, of course:
…and last but not least, from the Desserts, the Torrija:
In summary, I urge all to head to Iberica this summer and try for yourself their astounding line-up of dishes, both classic and contemporary alike.
Just keep it down when discussing it in The Living Room – we don’t want everyone finding out…