There are some great perks to being a blogger. One of them is getting to try out the latest hot and happening restaurants before anyone else and this is exactly what we did a few days ago at Iberica Leeds.
This converted Grade II listed building houses Leeds’ latest gastronomic offering – an authentic Spanish restaurant serving tapas, cured meats and classics like their signature paella – washed down with lots of wine and native beers.
Located on East Parade, a short walk from the train station and the city’s landmark museum and town hall, Iberica is like a high end city smart restaurant at the main entrance and a laid back, hidden ‘drinks after work’ type trendy den at the rear, where the nestled doorway, decor and lighting are inviting and as you enter you get the feeling of walking into a real ‘find’.
The bar and deli area is on the lower ground floor and somehow manages to be stripped back and luxe at the same time, plus I love how they have stayed sympathetic to the original building – even creating a retail shop display out of the former lift shaft!
We dined in the more elegant ‘banquette and chandelier’ part of the restaurant and were waited on by Andreu – something of a celebrity at Iberica!
His knowledge and passion for the food, the restaurant and the culture was impressive and contagious and we found ourselves taking many of his suggestions about which tapas to order. His recommendation of croquettes went down particularly well – my teenager loved them so much we put in an order for a second helping!
Some of the dishes sampled were the Iberica fish & chips; grilled Iberico pork head of loin; tortilla (Spanish omelette) and Iberica’s croquettes.
The prices are from £2.50 for a starter of bread and between £4 – £9.50 per plate for tapas (they advise 3 plates per person is typical but you can have what you want!) Paella is from £9 per person (minimum 2 people) so it is at the average High Street restaurant price range and well worth it for the quality and experience. As we ate my husband and I remarked how Iberica had got the authenticity right. The meal took us back to our holiday in the Costa Brava last year where we enjoyed tapas in the heart of Girona.
Iberica import their quality ingredients from carefully chosen Spanish producers to get that Catalan experience in Leeds and our overall verdict was that we’d definitely go back. We have to… After our meal we were so stuffed that we declined a look at the pudding menu and I’m not normally one to turn down a dessert!
Manager Fabio showed us round after our meal and told me that they are planning to run a series of masterclasses, as the other Iberica restaurants do – from ham carvings to sherry tastings, sharing the secrets and passions of their Spanish brands.
Iberica Leeds is now open at Hepper House, 17a East Parade, Leeds, LS1 2BH.
Telephone 0113 4037 007. www.ibericarestaurants.com
Thank you to Iberica for inviting us to the soft launch of your stunning restaurant and hosting our meal for the purpose of this review.