As soon as I entered, I knew Las Iguanas wasn’t for me. At the risk of sounding like a pensioner, for my birthday I had planned a laid back meal, with a few drinks and plenty of conversation; Las Iguanas offered up the drinks, but the atmosphere is far from laid back. A restaurant that doubles up as a bar just doesn’t really feel like a restaurant. Diners come to sit and enjoy their food, not feel claustrophobic with drinkers towering over them (surrounding our whole table on bar stools that looked down on our trestle), and the number of drinkers automatically meant bar-like noise levels.
For drinks, I shared a pitcher of Sangria Punch with a friend for £14.20, which was very reasonable considering we got almost 4 glasses each out of it. The punch tasted quite alcoholic despite being the cheapest pitcher on the menu, and was also really fruity and full-bodied, so very enjoyable.
Opening the menu, the prices of the veggie options seemed amazingly cheap – obviously there had to be a catch. I had Gringas, £7.00; refried black beans sandwiched between two tortillas, topped with butternut squash, cream cheese and red onions and a side salad. On paper, this sounded quite impressive, but when my plate arrived, I wondered whether there was a side dish yet to arrive.
Our waitress was very efficient, perhaps too eager, and we felt a little rushed in ordering our food. All nine dishes arrived within minutes, begging the question: can everything possibly be freshly prepared?
The tiny portion was ingeniously disguised by a pile of lettuce, which was without a dressing and very plain. The Gringas was passable, quite tasty but nothing special, and nothing (I flattert) I couldn’t do better myself. The black beans were plain, and there wasn’t nearly enough of the topping, which was mild and lacked texture. I struggled to understand why there was no side dish (for example rice or even fries) as most other dishes on the menu came with a side, and so it was reasonable to think that the lack of a side would mean a huge portion of Gringas.
Others at the meal seemed happy with their dishes; the Fajitas were a success all round at £13.90 for chicken and £15.30 for steak, and the Enchilada (£9.90) was okay. My friends all dislike spicy food and rarely eat Mexican, and all ordered the mildest dishes on the menu, so I can only guess at how the hotter dishes tasted.
Las Iguanas certainly delivers on the drinks, but unfortunately the food and the general atmosphere totally fail to live up to expectations. After having the restaurant recommended by various friends, L was severely disappointed and left feeling hungry and cheated of the Mexican flavour I had craved.