This Latin inspired restaurant is a real find for anyone who likes tapas yet at the same time fancies trying some new and inspiring South American dishes.
Las Iguanas is perched at the edge of the North Laines and in the heart of a modernised shopping and accommodation centre. This is the new Brighton that’s taking shape as big-name high street retailers and well known eateries clamour for space. However, whilst it may be shiny and new, that fact alone is enough to mark it out as very separate from the traditional Brighton ethos.
At Las Iguanas, there are several differently themed areas - in one area a jungle theme is created from tall wooden bamboo columns whilst in another area there's a slightly more Aztec feel with paved stoning, big hollow reeds and lots of dark woods. This is all set off with some red mood lighting. The main dining area is very appealing with the hollow columns doubling up as an impressive backdrop to pastel-bound banquettes and other decorative leather chairs.
In the restaurant areas there's a funky ambience as groups of friends dine next to couples catching up about their day. It's probably best suited to friends who fancy meeting up for a gossip and a fun night as during the meal you can sip your way through the many unusual cocktails on offer.
The chefs show their passion for all things Latin in the varied menu on offer. There’s a reasonable lunch and early evening menu with mains coming in at under £7 and 2 courses a snip at under £8. Try the gazpacho con mango a flavoursome cold soup of chilled pepper, tomato and cucumber finished with fresh mango and infused with basil oil. Another must is the flame grilled Buenos Aires burger especially as Argentina is famed for having arguably the world’s finest quality of beef. This is topped off with melted mozzarella, Argentinean pesto and fresh rocket.
There is also an array of tapas dishes to get your paws on. The bolinhos, Brazilian cod, potato and parsley fritters served with a hot chilli salsa is excellent. Crunchy on the outside with beautifully soft textures on the inside.
Mains feature a wealth of regional, Brazilian, traditional and fish courses. Traditional dishes such as the hot sizzling platters of fajitas are a good option cooked in the Las Iguanas blend of spices with pickled jalapeno peppers, soured cream and guacamole. An unusual Brazilian dish worth a go is called Xinxim (which is apparently the legendary footballer Pele’s favourite). This is Brazilian lime chicken in a sauce featuring peanuts and crayfish and served with rice, fine beans and sweet plantain. Certainly an interesting mix of textures and tastes, there's nothing bland about this dish and if it's the food of footballers, we're sold.
Save room for desserts that include a rich chocolate and banoffee pie, spiced orange Atzec chocolate cake and Pave which is a Brazilian take on the Italian favourite, tiramisu.
The unique selling point is the cachaca most popularly served up in caipirinhas. Grown and produced by an individual plantation in Brazil, Las Iguanas hold the prestigious honour of being the only restaurant chain in the UK to produce their own cachaca. Try the classic caipirinha, tropical with fresh pineapple, coconut and rum or even a berry and almond, watermelon or raspberry version. After your meal, head to the bar where there are two for one offers during the happy hour which runs from 12pm-7.30pm.
The Last Word
Las Iguanas will certainly infuse you with Latin spirit. You just can’t help but let your hair down with a stomach full of fajitas and a caipiranha or two in hand.