Its been maybe 8 years since I last visited a Las Iguanas but it was a firm favourite of mine when I lived in Bath. I was a little nervous when I popped in on Friday to try their new Winter menu, that it might have lost some of its sparkle, but I can safely say that everything is just as good as I remember!
Las Iguanas began its life in Bristol just over 20 years ago and since then it has evolved into a vibrant chain of restaurants, sourcing British, ethically sourced produce and adding in ingredients sourced from all over South American. Passionate about being handmade, the talented chefs tucked away in the kitchen make 30 sauces and salsas every day and carefully put together each and every dish.
Located in the BH2 complex just off the Lower Gardens in Bournemouth, Las Iguanas is on the lower level and has a view of the gardens with a small number of tables outside. Inside, the restaurant is full of the colour, charisma and charm of Latin America – from the decor, to the really friendly and welcoming staff, to the bar (and its cocktail menu) and the delicious food on the menu.
Famed not only for their Latin American food, their cocktail list is extensive. 2-for-1 cocktails are on offer all day, every day and we gleefully perused the menu when we were seated at our table. Our waitress had extensive knowledge of the menu and was able to suggest something for my friend based on the kind of cocktail she was after (sweet, clean, sharp, smokey etc) and I chose and enjoyed one of their seasonal cocktails (Margherita de Los Muertos – Olmeca Tequila, lime, agave nectar, passion fruit, falernum & bitters and finished with some smoking cinnamon) – which was deliciously sharp and sweet.
We decided to share some nachos and whilst I am a fan, I am used to receiving some clearly cheap tortilla chips laden with tasteless melted cheese and sauces. This couldn’t have been further from the plate of food presented to us at Las Iguanas! These nachos were deliciously spiced, thin and crunchy tortilla crisps, held together with some (but not too much) melted cheese and topped with a couple of the handmade salsas full of beans and chopped tomatoes, flavourful guacamole and sour cream and some spicy jalepenos peppers. A tremendous way to start our meal!
There is so much to choose from on the new menu with choices from all over Latin American. I chose to have a Mexican burrito and my friend chose the Brazilian XinXim and we were both delighted with the food that we were presented with – by far the best burrito I have had in a while …and I am a bit of a fan!
The menu is competitively priced with options to suit any palate or dietary requirement (including gluten free, vegetarian and vegan). There are also a range of tapas style dishes if you would rather more of a choice rather than sticking to just one dish.
We were enticed by the cocktail menu again and this time we chose to share the Smoking Plums cocktail (Las Iguanas’ own Bru-Xo Mezcal, calvados, plum, lemon and smoking cinnamon) and were then tempted by something sweet to finish our meal, sharing 3 churros with a dulche du leche sauce.
Since Christmas is on the horizon, there are a number of options available for Christmas Parties (2 course for £19.95 or 3 courses for £24.95) or even for a South American carnival feel on Christmas Day! (Set menu for £40 per adult, £15 for under 12s).
There are also party options and a lovely looking children’s menu, as well as their current offer of ‘kids eat free’ (with every paying adult). More details about their all their offers can be found on their website.
I think testament to the good time I had there and the really delicious food, I have spent the time writing this review with my mouth watering and just wanting to head back and eat there again! I heartily recommend Las Iguanas for a fun night out, a lunch with a difference or a Christmas do with that Latin American twist.
|Invited by PR company?||Yes|
|Guest of chef/restaurant/owner?||No|
|Restaurant/outlet knew ahead we were bloggers?||Yes|
|Was the meal complimentary from the restaurant?||Yes – partially|
|Any complimentary items provided by restaurant/outlet?||No|