Las Iguanas Review
7-8 Jubilee Street
Visited: Wednesday 30th October
The Brighton branch is one of 39 restaurants in the Las Iguanas chain, but doesn’t have the plastic, mass-produced feel that so many multi-branch companies have. Basking in the cosy glow of their fabulous new refurb, it really is a welcome retreat from the wet and dreary weather outside. I’ve only eaten once here before, although I’ve glugged many a Long Island Iced Tea during their well-known happy hours. So today, I went along for lunch with my friend and her 18 month old boy. We were greeted by a very smiley Victor who sorted out a high chair and some kid stuff, namely some balloons and some crayons to colour in the specially designed kids menu – a very nice touch I thought.
While we were deciding what to eat, I ordered a small glass of Garnacha, a fruity red Spanish wine, and my friend ordered a citrus cooler, which she got two of as they’re on the cocktail menu and it was happy hour (all day) – result!
We settled on a taco sharing tray from their main a la carte menu to start. You can choose up to three fillings, so we went for barbecue and jalapeno shredded steak, roasted coconut butternut squash and garlicky mushroom with chilli and thyme. These came in pots on a large tray along with a pot each of melted cheese, pink pickled onions and soured cream. They were all really delicious, not too hot or spicy. The steak was definitely the fave though; really soft and smoky. Not much in the way of jalapenos, but no complaints as it was really good.
For our mains we ordered two dishes from the ‘Brazilian and Beyond’ section which were recommended to us by Victor; The Extraordinary Xinxim and Pollo Con Chorizo. The Xinxim was lime chicken in a creamy crayfish and peanut sauce, served with garlic rice, fine green beans, a couple of slices of fried plantain and some toasted coconut to sprinkle on top. It was served on a terracotta burner to keep it warm. It was quite rich, but really tasty and a perfect Autumnal dish. The beans were only just cooked and were still crunchy, that’s exactly how I like them – not squeaky! It was good to see that the beans were included in the price, as you’re often expected to pay extra for a side dish of veg. My friend was very happy with her chicken (thigh not breast: extra points), which came with smoked pork and garlic chorizo, cannellini beans and tomato and red pepper sauce and was served with the same rice and beans as mine. All well cooked and a good rich sauce too.
Neither of us had room for dessert, so we vowed to return for coffee and pud another time. I had a nosy at what other people were eating and saw that desserts were pretty big – the churros came in a pretty striped paper bag and a plate of dipping sauces. Good to see some thought had gone into the presentation. I really fancy trying the Affogato Cubano: vanilla ice cream with a spiced rum espresso poured over it and served with a cinnamon churro. How Wintery is that? WANT.
I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food today and would definitely come back to try some of the other dishes. The service was reasonably quick and the staff are knowledgeable and friendly.
I should also mention that they have a sizeable veggie/vegan menu, a gluten free menu and a kids menu. Also, their lunch menu is incredibly good value with all mains under £8 and starters from £1.90 (if buying a main), including quick options if you’re in a hurry. Las Iguanas invited me to lunch today so I didn’t foot the bill, however, if I had been paying it would have come to a total of £49.45. Pretty good for two starters, two mains two glasses of wine and two alco-free cocktails.
I’ll definitely be returning and I’ll be ready for my pudding.