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Iberica, Glasgow, Restaurant review

Iberica is riding the crest of the wave of great new Spanish restaurants in Glasgow and offers some sublime tapas, finds Sean Murphy

Published: November 21, 2016
Food: 
8/10
Ambience: 
8/10

Nothing makes me happier than the recent resurgence of Spanish cuisine in the city centre, and Iberica, the latest restaurant to ride the crest of that wave, provides dishes with a focus on "delicacies from the Celtic region of Asturias".

This is where my knowledge of Spanish cuisine becomes a little cloudy but the promise of tapas (Spanish cuisine), pork dishes (Iberica) and local cuisine (Asturias) all sounded a little too tempting.

The eatery is the eighth incarnation of the group's restaurants and the first to open in Scotland. Located in an old Victorian bank building on the corner of St Vincent Street and Hope Street, it is set in grand surroundings and makes a welcome sight on the wander up hill from Central Station.

Upon entering, Iberica feels an upmarket hotel combined with the set of one of those fun European beer adverts, with funky decor and a classy feel. It's the kind of place you'd imagine a jazz band playing delightful music in the background while the patrons saunter around coolly.

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The waiting staff were very attentive, but not intrusive, offering advice and chatting away without it feeling forced or unnecessary.

The menu itself was put together by Nacho Manzano, the three Michelin starred chef who founded the Iberica chain, and feels fancy but approachable, with each dish reflecting the laid back manner of the local cuisine.

The wine menu is equally fantastic, and extensive, though as always we deferred to the waiter, allowing him to pick a stunning Spanish red (Sers Singular - £7 per glass) that was perfectly suited for the delightful array of meats and cheeses that made up the half and half platter (a great value £6).

Cuts of Fuet - a thinly sliced, dry cured sausage, spicy chorizo and Cecina - a type of air dried beef, sat invitingly alongside three different types of Spanish cheese; the perfect starter before the real challenge of selecting just three dishes each (recommended) from the Tapas section.

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Broken down into four sections, including vegetables, from the sea, from the land and eggs and croquetas; the first selection was easy, the fried chorizo lollipops (£5), served with pear aloili, were little balls of meat based heaven on sticks while the beef cheek carpaccio (£6.50) wasn't what we were expecting but still delicious.

Next we ordered the pumpkin salad (£5), the spring onion tempura (£4), both great vegetarian offerings and nice twists on the traditional, while the hake a la gallega, was a delightful fish dish with great flavour.

The seasonal game specials were sold out which was a pity but a good signifier that they were popular and well made, we will need to make a return trip to try them next time.

The pork secreto (£11), our final choice, was the perfect finisher; fantastically tender cuts of pork from the Josper Grill, succulent and flavoursome. My significant other had already had her fill and was happy for me to finish it myself, all washed down with a sherry. Served bare, the meat was that good it didn't need anything to accompany it.

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For dessert we chose the churros (£4), which combined with the confusing toilet layout, was my only real complaint of the night (though my SO would say her only complaint was that we had to leave at all) the accompanying chocolate sauce was overcooked and had a thick skin.

In contrast, the la tarta de la abuela (£5) was definitely a highlight, the chocolate and vanilla creme anglaise with biscuit crumble was stunningly good and a worthy finish to the night.

Overall, Iberica is the ideal place for authentic Spanish cuisine that won't break the bank, and with a diverse menu offering a deli selection for a lighter meal, tapas for something more substantial and the Josper grill for something that little bit more special.

 Iberica

140 St Vincent Street
Glasgow, G2 5LA,  0141 530 7985

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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