We recently decided to check out Ibérica, a Spanish tapas bar that we had walked by multiple times and always been eager to try. The restaurant is extremely spacious (i.e. great for large groups) with a Moorish-influenced decor, and we thought the food was delightful. It has friendly service, a solid wine list, and a fairly wide range of tasty plates - their meat and seafood "mains" were particularly memorable.
(Apologies for the quality of some of the photos--the lighting was such that we had to use flash.)
Our wine for the evening
A very easy-to-drink old vine Garnacha wine from the Somontano wine region in Aragon was a great pairing with all of our Spanish comfort food.
Trio of Ibéricos: BEHER Etiqueta Oro from Guijelo, Salamanca; Juan Pedro Domecq from Jabugo, Huelva; COVAP Alta Expresión from Los Pedroches, Córdoba
Nothing better to tickle our tastebuds than some jamón ibérico de bellota to start off. These three types of jamón exhibited a nice range of density, saltiness, and acorn nuttiness.
Though patatas bravas are far from the most creative Spanish dish out there, this staple is a guilty pleasure for the both of us. The potatoes here had a nice crisp to them and the rich and peppery mayonnaise was delicious, despite it having the look of artificial nacho cheese.
Manchego salad with beetroot & apple
This was a simple yet flavourful salad. The saltiness of the manchego and the sweetness of the beetroot and apple balanced each other out nicely, though it could have used a little less balsamic dressing.
Grilled baby squid with green Canarian mojo
Hands down the best dish we had that evening. The delicate, moist squid was grilled to perfection, and we gobbled it up in seconds.
Tosta de asparagus, Manchego, onion confit & truffle oil
This dish may seem a little ordinary to the eye, but - as truffle oil makes anything taste great - we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Crispy confit of Segovian suckling pig, apple purée & frisée salad
This was simply decadent. P thinks it's one of the richest, densest dishes he's ever had, and there is no way we could have had much more than the two slivers of suckling pig on our plate. The skin was delightfully crispy, and the meat below had a surprisingly creamy texture.
Rib-eye with Cabrales cheese sauce
The cheese sauce was one of the least enticing parts of the meal, but fortunately it was left on the side so did not do any damage to what was an outstanding grilled steak. It was almost cooked bleu (raw on the inside) below the charred outer edges of the steak, so we don't recommend it to squeamish eaters, but we think the almost-raw texture actually better preserved the beef's flavour.
Sherry: Noe, Pedro Ximénez, D.O. Jerez
Since we were too full to have any dessert, we ended up ordering two glasses of sherry. Both from Jerez, one was Noe and the other Matusalen. The latter had an apricot-like fruitiness to it, but the overwhelming sweetness wasn't really balanced out by any dry backbone. We quite enjoyed the Noe, which was much more balanced. Overall, this was a pleasant way to finish off a meal at a fun, lively restaurant that we will certainly be returning to.
195 Great Portland Street
London W1W 5PS
Tube: Regent's Park or Great Portland Street
020 7636 8650 or book online