Exeter’s Las Iguanas really does have the most energising atmosphere. The upbeat Latin music sets the tone for this funky restaurant with vibrant décor and friendly, accommodating staff. There’s an amazing selection of enticing and exotic drinks on offer – from Cuban cocktails and Caribbean punch to world wines – you’re spoilt for choice before you even think about food. I was driving so opted for a Raspberry Cooler – a long refreshing drink of raspberry and elderflower, which qualified for the buy one get one free happy hour offer (12-7.30pm) – result.
All the food is freshly prepared at Las Iguanas and the staff, who seem genuinely happy and upbeat, are happy to advice on choices. There are separate menus for veggies, vegans and those with a gluten free diet too. There’s a great variety in the tapas and starters menu – from Nachos through to Albondigas – Patagonian lamb meatballs. I’m a big seafood fan, so I went for the Calamares (£5.40) and wasn’t disappointed. Whole baby calamari, sliced and coasted in crispy crumb cassava, cooked to perfection served with a creamy aioli dip. The perfect quantity to get you in the mood for food but not spoil your main.
A few of the curry style dishes from Brazil caught my eye, as did the Hot Guyanese Pepperpot, but I finally decided to order my Mexican favourite: steak fajitas (£15.50). My marinated strip steak fajitas were cooked in a splendid mix of coriander, lime, paprika, cumin, onions and peppers, delivered to my table sizzling, along with soft tortillas and pots of guacamole, soured cream, tomato salsa and jalapenos. This tactile make your own approach is fabulous as you can have them just as you like and it makes a bit of an event of your meal too. The steak was perfectly cooked and mouth-wateringly tasty and succulent. All the other elements were simply top quality making it a super satisfying meal.
In truth I was too stuffed for dessert but I just couldn’t help myself. Had my main not been so good, I’d have had more room for a dense pudding and I’d have demolished the warm chocolate orange sponge cake with ice cream. Instead I opted for Berry Mexican mess (£5.00), which consisted of strawberries in sweet hibiscus syrup, mascarpone, yoghurt and meringue pieces – decadent but still fruity and quite light. A perfectly pretty pile up to end a tantalisingly tasty, and fun, meal.
Visit the website: www.iguanas.co.uk/locations/exeter