Over the past few months, we’ve heard nothing but good things coming from visitors to Iberica Marylebone.
The chain of Spanish tapas restaurants has grown to four across London – two more in Canary Wharf and one in Farringdon. Added to this that Iberica Marylebone has featured on hit show ‘Made In Chelsea’ so many times that we’ve considered writing to E4 to request a name changes to ‘Made in Marylebone’, we decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about.
Iberica Marylebone can be found in a beautiful building on Great Portland Street – right on Marylebone’s eastern most border. It’s equally as beautiful on the inside, an expansive space that feels light and airy with large glass windows facing out onto the street, but cosy once the sun went down. The decor balances luxury, traditional and contemporary at the same time, but with the end result being an informal and relaxed atmosphere where guests can eat and drink at the bar or at tables.
There’s been a small tapas revolution happening in London recently, with there being no doubt that the casual Spanish way of dining offers great food and a beautifully social way of dining, allowing for relaxed meals that provide plenty of time to get through a bottle or two from Spain’s top vineyards. And great conversation of course.
Our waiter was fantastic – one of an army of Spanish men who all had remarkably similar beards and who a female member of our party later described as ‘handsome’. Anyway, I digress. It’s no bad thing that our waiter was helpful, though. Unless you know your way around the world of Tapas, you might recognise the Traditional Spanish Omelette but otherwise struggle to understand what’s involved with much of the rest of the menu, especially how many ‘bits’ come with each dish. With some guidance from our Spanish native we were soon underway with about 10 dishes on the way (we were a party of 5), along with a crisp and aromatic bottle of white wine – a San Clodio from the Galicia region.
We were in for quite a feast. The Half and Half board of cured meats and cheese was the perfect introduction to what Iberica had to offer. This arrived with Serrano Ham Croquettes – bitesized, warm and tasty. Next came a particular favourite – Asparagus, Manchego and Onion Confit on toast, covered in a rich truffle oil that I could smell as soon as they arrived. Strangely enough, the Traditional Spanish Omelette was also a real winner for me – everything from the flavour to the consistency brought back memories of home cooked Spanish omelette on a trip a few years ago to Santiago de Compostela in the north west of Spain. An example of an extremely simple dish being perfectly executed.
The Fried Squid was as expected, complimented by a rich aioli dip and came alongside the Fried Chorizo Lollypops with a Pear Aioli sauce – wooden sticks with chorizo on the end offering a fantastic contrast of flavours. Last to arrive was the Twice Cooked Lamb with Cherry Tomatoes and Red Peppers – which we all confused for a piece of cake with some kind of fruit on top when it first arrived, but were soon left pleasantly surprised.
Nearing full capacity and wanting to continue the sharing theme, we split two deserts between us – a Tarta de la Abuela and a Caremelized Spanish Rice Pudding. For me the the Tarta de la Abuela was the winner – a rich and chocolatey concoction served in a glass pot, with a crumble on top (a change from the usual pastry).
Most of the dishes at Iberica range between £5 and £10, but it’s really the kind of place where you could stop by for anything from a couple of dishes and a glass of wine after work to a full meal, meaning the cost of your meal could vary. Either way, for those looking for something a little bit different or on the lookout for London tapas, Iberica Marylebone is certainly worth a visit.
195 Great Portland Street
Nearest Tube: Great Portland Street
Phone: 020 7636 8650