Thursday, 26 May 2016

Iberica, Manchester: New Seasonal Menu

Iberica, Manchester
I was having 'a day'... you know the type; people being idiots and your 'get up and go' having already departed. Then a lovely little email from Iberica arrived asking if I wanted to come and check out the new seasonal menu. Yes, yes please. 

Iberica is one of our happy places. We first went to the Marylebone one before Manchester opened, and were then quick to suss out our new neighbour. After declaring it wonderful, we've been regular patrons ever since. My tapas partner in crime Lee accompanied me, and loved it so much, that she was rather keen to do the review. So here's what she thought. 

I really don't have the words to describe how much I love going to Iberica, from my first visit in London to my excitement when the Manchester site was announced, I have been obsessed with this fantastic place! So needless to say when Rach asked if I fancied accompanying her to try the Spring menu, I nearly bit her lovely little hand off.

After a long day at a conference in Harrogate, and a slightly fraught journey back, I felt myself relax straight away when I arrived and was handed a glass of cava. We were seated in the beautiful bar area and served a warming sherry as the food started to arrive. 
Iberica, Manchester
First up was a trio of hams, varying in region of origin each of these hams had a very distinctive taste, and each was delicious. We also tried beautifully rich Presa, alongside roasted tomato bread which added a tasty burst of freshness. 

Trio of hams
Iberica, Manchester
 Cured Iberian acorn-fed 'Presa' (Lomito de Bellota)
Iberica, Manchester
Toasted bread with tomato
Iberica, Manchester
Iberica, Manchester
After aggressively front loading on ham I soon realised I needed to pace myself in order to manage a try of each of the mains....this turned out to be easier said than done! We started the mains with a red berry and beetroot gazpacho, the flavours within this were unbelievable, sharp and fresh, even Rachel (genuine hater of beetroot) was sold on this.

This was followed by my three favourite tapas dishes of the night, asparagus toast with manchego and truffle oil, cauliflower tempura and serrano ham croquettes. The asparagus toast and croquettes are already firm favourites of mine, in fact I may have had dreams about the croquettes! The cauliflower was incredibly tasty with a zingy pickled cauliflower slice on top.

Red berries gazpacho from MercatBar by Quique Dacosta 
Iberica, Manchester 
Iberica, Manchester
Asparagus toast - green asparagus with manchego, onion confit and truffle oil on toast 
Iberica, Manchester
 Cauliflower tempura - deep fried fresh cauliflower heads in sauce
Iberica, Manchester
 Iberica's croquettes - signature serrano ham croquettes
Iberica, Manchester
Next was time for fish, we tried hake with hollandaise and lettuce water, fideua with garlic and prawns, octopus gallega, and sea trout with almond purée. Each of these dishes were delicious and perfectly cooked, and despite being a little afraid of octopus I am told this is one of the best. Special mention must be made of the lettuce water served with the hake; Cesar advised that this is basically salad blended into a sauce. I could go for a mug of this!

Fresh hake with hollandaise sauce and lettuce water
Iberica, Manchester
 Fideua with garlic and prawns - a classic Spanish seafood dish originating from Valencia
Iberica, Manchester
The Iberica octopus a la galega - Galician style octopus with potatoes and pimento de la Vera (paprika)
Iberica, Manchester
 Sea trout with almond puree, pickled cauliflower and smoked olive oil 
Iberica, Manchester
Just when I thought I may pop we were presented with the finale, Gloria Cachopo, a tender fried beef and pork patty filled with cheese. I am a firm believer that all food can be improved by putting cheese in or on it, this dish confirmed it.

Gloria Cachopo - fried beef and Iberico pork patty filled with Asturian cheeses and mushrooms
Iberica, Manchester
Iberica, Manchester
For dessert we tried the rice pudding, Gloria cheesecake and churros. My favourite here was the rice pudding, rich and creamy with a crispy caramelised top, I was in heaven.

Caramelised Spanish rice pudding
Iberica, Manchester
Gloria cheesecake - served with parmesan and dried strawberries 
Iberica, Manchester
Churros with chocolate 
Iberica, Manchester
The evening was a huge success; delicious food and wine, excellent service and lots of laughs with new friends, who I hope to see again soon. Thank you Cesar, yet again you have blown us away with your talent (and you still look like a young Spanish Jeremy Piven).
Iberica, Manchester
A massive thank you to Iberica and Cesar for having us, Lee for writing such a lovely review, and our dining partners:
Sarah from North West Nosh
Glen from MDOG
Stephen and Carl from The Gourmet Gays

Give their blogs a visit and follow them on Instagram for more food fuelled adventures.

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