Las Iguanas Leeds review - spoilt for choice but tapas misses flavour
Las Iguanas is a chain - and it doesn't disguise itself as anything else.
The decor is contemporary and the all-day 2-4-1 cocktail menu makes it a hit with students and young professionals.
But the restaurant does promise big Mexican, Brazilian and Latin American flavours and while this is a growing market in Leeds, nowhere offers such an extensive menu as Las Iguanas.
Nestled just around the corner from Call Lane, opposite the Corn Exchange, it's the perfect first stop for a night out in Leeds.
Stepping into Las Iguanas on a Saturday evening, it was loud, busy and full of big parties. This made for a lively atmosphere full of the buzz and excitement of a weekend in Leeds, but it was difficult to hear yourself speak. The perfect place for a birthday or a lively group; certainly not the place for a quiet date.
The décor is in keeping with the Latin American 'tropical island' theme, with blue wooden panelling, neon signs and plastic bunting strung from the walls.
What’s the menu like?
The menu is vast with a choice of tapas or large plates from Brazil, Mexico, Argentina or Cuba.
Dishes range from extra-hot Caribbean curries to a cheesy Cuban sandwich, or Mexican veggie chilli to the meaty Buenos Aires burger. We were spoilt for choice.
Cocktails are 2-4-1 all day, every day which is the big appeal for large parties.
Now onto the food
Unable to choose one dish from such a big menu, we opted for a selection of tapas dishes. Five dishes are £26.95 until 7pm, or all day on Sunday and Monday, but we’d unknowingly just missed this offer.
We picked on nachos to start which were generously topped with melted cheese, salsa, jalapenos, sour cream and roasted tomato salsa.
The Albondigas, or Patagonian-style lamb meatballs, were my personal favourite. The three meatballs were juicy and melt-in-your-mouth and came with a piece of bread to mop up the deliciously rich sauce.
We then chose two tacos – I opted for the 'crispy cauliflower' filling, which had a spicy kick but was not particularly crispy, while my dinner companion opted for the 'Baja fish' filling made with battered sea bass. We both agreed that these fell a little flat on flavour.
Our fifth small plate was pan-friend halloumi skewers with oregano and sweet chilli sauce, which tasted a little too sweet and needed a lot longer under the grill.
We opted for two sides of sweet potato fries and a healthy Fiesta Ensalada made with butternut squash and a selection of fresh vegetables. The salad was fresh and zingy, which nicely balanced the cheesy nachos and rich meatballs.
Value for money?
Having just missed out on the Tapas offer, our food came to £53.10 for five small plates and four cocktails with the two-for-one offer. The portions were generous for small plates but the big flavours that we were promised were lacking.
If I was to return, I would opt for one of the curries or large plates, as there are plenty of better - and cheaper - tapas spots across the city.
Address: Unit 3 Cloth Hall St, Leeds LS1 2HD
Telephone: 0113 243 9533
Opening hours: 10am to 11pm Monday to Thursday, 10am to 11.30pm Saturday & Sunday, 10am to 10.30pm Sunday.