The amount of new restaurant openings in Birmingham is quite staggering. One of these latest additions to the restaurant scene is the new Brummie branch of popular South American chain, Las Iguanas. Birmingham is already home to two branches – at the Arcadian and Resorts World – and the new opening is located on Temple Street in the heart of the city.
I was excited to be invited to check out this latest opening. In the main my enthusiasm was because I thoroughly enjoy the food at Las Iguanas (I’ve been to the Leamington Spa restaurant). Also, the fact that this was my first night out since having my daughter in March, and the thought of taking a small handbag with just essentials rather than my huge mum-bag full of nappies, toys and the like, added to my excitement.
The restaurant is housed in the former Temple Street Social and the new décor is very fun, colourful and funky. The tables are well spaced out (I personally hate tables that are crammed in together too tightly) with some booths for larger groups.
After arriving at the restaurant and being greeted by very friendly staff, we were seated promptly. The menu was given to us which listed food on one side and cocktails on the other. We got straight into the drinking (although just the one for me as I’m breastfeeding – just pointing out there that I try my hardest to be a responsible mother) with a strawberry caiprinha which was fresh and fruity. There was a definite kick of alcohol, but just the right amount to give me a light buzz without being overwhelming.
The menu has a great range of cocktails and the majority are 2-4-1 every day, which is an added bonus.
Last time I visited Las Iguanas I stuck to the more well-known Mexican food including nachos and burritos. I fancied being more adventurous this time, so I chose Bolinhos De Caranguejo to start, which are crab, prawn and potato croquettes served with lime aioli. They arrived quickly and were freshly cooked. The potato was light and fluffy, with the crab and prawn adding a delicious uplift to the taste. The lime aioli was indeed as the menu stated, zingy. Even though the croquettes are deep fried they did not taste too oily, which was very welcome.
My friend went for the Pato Taquito which is roast duck and caramelised onion in a flour tortilla. She enjoyed them, and said that the spicy cranberry salsa served with the taquito was a tasty addition.
For main course, I plumped for the Halloumi Churrasco Skewers, which were skewers of halloumi, beetroot, artichoke, red onion and pepper. While I’m not a veggie, I do love a good vegetarian dish and often choose the veg option if it looks interesting. Plus I adore halloumi, so it seems a perfect choice for me.
The skewers were served with a honey peri-peri sauce, salad and cassava fries. I was pleased to see there was plenty of halloumi on the skewers, with a good helping of the vegetables as well. It was cooked really well, nicely grilled without being overdone. The portion of salad and fries were generous.
My friend had a dish which looked super interesting, called Xinxim (still not sure how you pronounce it). It is a Brazilian dish, featuring chicken and crayfish in a lime and peanut sauce. It’s served with spring onion rice, fine green beans, coconut farofa (Google tells me this is toasted cassava flour mixture) and plantain.
I was slightly disappointed that while the starters were served about 10 minutes after ordering, we waited 45 minutes after our first course for our mains to arrive. The restaurant was really busy and I appreciate things can get held up, but this did seem a rather excessive wait.
In between courses we went in for our second cocktail of the night, the Citrus Samba. Mine was sans-alcohol, but even without it the taste was crisp and refreshing.
Overall we had a great evening and the food was certainly very tasty. I wouldn’t hesitate to visit this branch again as the location is ideal, and overlooking the long wait between courses, the food was freshly cooked, thoroughly enjoyable and more interesting than many other chain restaurants. The cocktails are also particularly delightful and the 2-4-1 offering is nice and easy on the wallet (helpful as my maternity pay is drawing to an end!). Non-alcoholic cocktails are also available on the 2-4-1 menu.
Thanks to Tara and the team at East Village PR for inviting me to the launch event, where food and drink was provided free of charge for the purposes of this review. As always my reviews are honest and are not influenced by the provision of free products.