FIne tapas in Marylebone in an expansive, relaxed setting - and with a deli next door
Ibérica feels like an Andalusian mansion on the corner of Great Portland Street. So many London tapas bars go for the dark tavern look, but here the balconied upper level, internal windows, Moorish oversized lamps and traditional azulejo blue and white tiling create an expansive, relaxed atmosphere.
The air-cured beef cecina is a favourite of executive chef, Nacho Manzano, when he visits from his two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Asturias, so don’t miss that wafer-thin delicacy, served on a meat board alongside smoky chorizo or soft slices of lomo. The menu demonstrates how traditional dishes are done best (absolutely tender octopus served simply with soft potatoes, or smooth chickpea purée with nibs of spiced chorizo) and balances this with novel playful flavour-pairings (chorizo lollipops with pear aïoli, or beetroot gazpacho lifted by red berries, cheese ice-cream and anchovy flecks).
Traditionally given to pilgrims after a trek to Santiago de Compostela, Galician almond tart is, in this version, dense, moist and almost worth a pilgrimage in itself. Service is friendly and very Spanish. Pop into Ibérica’s deli next door to buy cured meats and Spanish cheeses – and remember to book if you’re visiting the restaurant at the end of the week.