The feel-good, fun and colourful vibe you would expect of a Latin American, well, anything, has been successfully captured by British, family-friendly restaurant, Las Iguanas; via catchy Latin music, tropical looking plants and fabulous fusion food. Starting from a humble one-shop beginning just a few years ago, the infectious, high-energy and Latin rhythm of the place has seen it expand into towns and cities across the UK. Not forgetting, of course, the incredible, varied and mouth-watering menu. All the meat, seafood and vegetables are British and the dishes are created using ingredients sourced from around the world. The fine menu is a fusion of Latin American, Portuguese, Spanish and African influences. A heady mix.
What's on the menu?
I defy you to visit a Las Iguanas and not find everything on the menu instantly irresistible. Particularly if, like us, you are a chorizo-loving family. The kids get their own menu, filled with a tasty selection of pared down dishes from the adult menu. We loved that they could choose from Crazy Quesadillas, a Mexi-Pizza and Wacky Tacos, amongst other main dishes. A ninos meal costs just £5.90 and includes a main course, dessert and one drink. One of our pint-sized diners decided to join in with the adult menu (I think it was the chorizo that did it), which was encouraged by our attentive and friendly waiting staff. Many of the dishes on the main menu can be halved in size (and price), for more adventurous children.
For a starter, we ordered Holy Guacamole with Totopos (spice dusted corn chips) to dip. The fun of this dish is that the ingredients arrive separated so you can add your tomato, onion and lime to the avocado, to taste. Fun for all ages. The Cha-cha Chorizo starter was a highlight of our meal; a smoky pork and garlic chorizo slowly braised with a red wine and tomato sauce and bread to soak it all up. We are still talking about this over a week later.
We had a vegetarian dining with us at Las Iguanas and since she usually resigns herself to yet another feta and tomato tart, she was suitably excited to choose a black bean and beet burger. It is worth noting that tacos and quesadilas are available as vegetarian options on the kids' menu, with tasty, non-boring fillings including squash and thyme mushroom.
Star meal for mums and dads:
The Extraordinary Xin Xim - A creamy crayfish, peanut and chicken curry, topped off with a squeeze of lime and served with rice, green beans, sweet plantain and a scattering of coconut. Mild enough for children to enjoy too.
The kids' menu is a fantastic way to introduce your little Latin lover to new taste experiences. Kids will love that they get their own menu, not just a corner of mum or dads, which has been tastefully illustrated with colourful characters including toucans, monkeys, sloths and, of course, the odd iguana. Not just serving the purpose of providing a dinner list, the menu is also a fun-filled activity sheet to keep your party entertained with puzzles and pictures, and even Spanish translation games, to keep them entertained while you await the main event. All kids' meals come with a salad and there is a smaller organic BabyDeli food menu for the smallest of diners.
Tempting family offers: During half-term week, kids eat free at Las Iguanas. Contact your local branch for specific dates.
Around the country: Las Iguanas has branches all over the UK, from Plymouth to Aberdeen and lots of places inbetween. Visit Las Iguanas online for full listings.
The essential info:
We visited Las Iguanas, Royal Festival Hall. A fantastic central London venue, with the chance to walk off all those fajitas with a stroll along the Southbank after dinner.
Festival Terrace, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London. SE1 8XX
Tel: 0207 620 1328
How to get there: The nearest mainline rail station is London Waterloo. It is also a short stroll over the bridge from Embankment tube station along with a whole host of bus routes and other nearby stations.
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