It’s been nearly a year since I last visited Iberica and gave it a shining review, so when Iberica invited me again as part of a blogger’s meet up, I said yes instantly. The evening showcases their Spring menu as well as the art of using a porrón, a traditional Spanish drinking vessel for wine.*
As in my original review, I still love the interior of this place. The large windows let in a lot of light and the seating allows for a cosy atmosphere. I especially like the tables next to the windows. We gathered downstairs first where we were given some deli food over a glass of Cava Vilarnau.
The Cava was easy to drink and allowed us to taste the deli food served to us. The trio of ham all tasted different and depending on your tastes, your favourite would differ. The mildest tasting one if the one with the lightest colour and the darkest one is the one with the strongest flavour. My favourite was probably the one in the middle.The cheese board
The cheese board showcased four different types of cheeses served with grapes and quince jelly and a quince sauce. I really like quince and the flavour paired beautifully with the cheeses. The toasted bread with tomato and the bread with olive oil completed this selection of appetisers nicely.
Our host came round with two porróns and informed us that they were used by travellers to carry wine with minimal contact with the air. The spout was made so that you can easily drink from the porrón. He then stated that for us, we would be using just water to demonstrate (Thank goodness! Otherwise I’d have wine all over myself!). Demonstrating how we could start using the porrón, he said to start pouring the water close to your mouth, then move the porrón further away. To stop, you would do the reverse. Expert porrón drinkers can apparently drink without starting close to the mouth.
After the porrón demonstration, we made our ways upstairs for the actual meal. The menu consisted of some tapas dishes which pair with white wine, some with red and then the dessert wine pairings. The chef came out to talk about each of the dishes in detail. I will go through what was on the menu for the omnivores. A separate menu was made for vegetarians, which fellow bloggers Eat and Two Veg will cover.
White wine pairings
The white wine for the evening was the Perro Verde Verdejo from Rueda (2015 vintage), which is exclusive to Iberica in the UK. It had a nice floral aroma and is quite easy to drink. You can only order this as a bottle, which costs £38.
Baby carrot tempura
The baby carrot tempura came with a tartare sauce, which I thought was an odd pairing as I’m used to tartare being served with fish. I didn’t like the combination but I, unfortunately, disliked the carrot tempura more. The batter was way too thick to be considered a tempura and I felt like I couldn’t actually taste carrot. I was the only one who thought this from my immediate neighbours, and in fact, they all liked it a lot, so perhaps you would too. However, it was not for me.
Crispy Cauliflower and Pak Choi
I was glad to see the pak choi hasn’t been boiled to death and still retained some bite. The cauliflower was nice but I felt it wasn’t crispy enough considering the name. This is an ok choice if you are wanting to balance your meal with some vegetables.
Octopus a la Gallega
Having had this the previous time I visited Iberica, I was very much looking forward to eating this again. However, I regret to inform you that this time round, the octopus was very chewy. It, unfortunately, did not live up to my expectations. The potatoes and the sauce were still as good as I remembered, though.
This salad contains tuna, egg, olives, Piquillo peppers and mayonnaise. It tastes as you would expect it to. I am personally not that fond of many cold mayonnaise based salads and this was no different. Not one for me.
Red Wine Pairings
The red wine given to us was the Comenge from Ribera del Duero (2011 vintage) which is also exclusive to Iberica in the UK. This is also only sold by the bottle at £39. I really, really liked this wine; the taste was very smooth with fruity and floral notes.
Croquetas de jamón
These croquettes rank very highly on my list for this evening. Potato and Serrano ham are mixed together until smooth and creamy, then breadcrumbed and cooked. It tastes like there is cream in there, but there isn’t. It’s amazingly good!
Twice Cooked Lamb
The twice cooked lamb is a Manchester favourite apparently and for good reason. The lamb melts in your mouth The mint pea puree was nice but I felt the roasted tomatoes on top could have been roasted for longer. Despite this, the lamb is my favourite dish of the evening! Definitely, order this one!
Chicken Wings in Canarian Moko Picón Sauce
The chicken wings I found to be on the dry side and too salty for my liking. I think I was the only person to find this though, so your tastes may differ. The Mojo Picón, a Spanish red pepper sauce, was quite nice, I only wish there was more of it. The fried plantain was a nice simple addition to this dish.
Pitu Chicken Rice
I unfortunately also found this dish too salty for my liking. The chicken was cooked very well though, as the chicken was very moist and melted in your mouth. The rice was also cooked nicely to al dente.
Dessert wine pairings
And we’re finally on to dessert. The dessert wine chosen was the Noe Pedro Ximénez, a sherry with sweet raisins, caramel, wood and dates aromas. This costs £6 for a 75ml glass or £55 for the 750ml bottle. I really liked this wine, if you like raisins you’ll like this.
Tocinillo de Cielo
The Tocinilo de Cielo is a custard flan with a coconut mousse and mango sorbet. The custard flan had a nice texture, but not much flavour, however, the mousse was very light and I liked the mango sorbet a lot.
Crema catalana foam
The Crema Catalana Foam contains apple wedges baked in cider served with salted caramel ice cream. I really enjoyed this but thought the apple wedges would have been better cut as pieces so you can get an equal bite of ice cream and apple.
Overall rating and comments
6/10, -1 for the thick batter on the tempura, -0.5 for the non-crispy cauliflower, -1 for the chewy octopus, -1 for the salty chicken dishes, -0.5 for the flavourless flan. Overall, a mixed bag and quite different from my first visit to Iberica. I did bring up my issues with the staff and they listened and said they would bring these up in the kitchen. The staff were very pleasant throughout the evening and I like how they catered to different dietary requirements.
Would visit again?
Due to the price point, I will only consider coming again for a special night out. I will admit that due to the fluctuations in the different tapas dishes I’ve tried, I am maybe hesitant to give this place another go.
Address: 14-15 Hardman St, Manchester M3 3HF
Have you been to Iberica before? Do you like tapas food?
Leave your comments below!
*As I was invited to eat at Iberica, I did not have to pay for my meal. This did not affect my review of this place.