Last Thursday, three lucky members of the Student Wire team including myself, had the pleasure of being invited to Las Iguanas, Leeds for a special evening of cocktails, student blogger company and incredible food.
The evening kicked off with a warm welcome from the general manager Maddalena Connor. We were invited in and given Brazilian Bellini’s to help us embrace the culture. The cocktails were made with Las Iguanas’ Magnifica cachaca, Funkin passion fruit puree and topped with Cava – a must try.
We were soon introduced to the hilarious Richard Allen our expert bartender for the evening. With Richard’s instruction we learned how to create the restaurants signature cocktail the Caipirinha. Now, in all honesty rum has never been my best friend (more like my worst enemy) and my experiences with the drink haven’t been pretty. I can’t lie and say the shot of Magnifica cachaca went down easy (or at all) but after a sip it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever tasted. Safe to say I was pretty apprehensive about trying the Caipirinha after learning it was made with rum, but none the less I was eager to have a go at the cocktail making myself.
We started by crushing limes and adding sugar. Hardly the most complex cocktail to make – I like to think it was all in the stirring. We then added crushed ice and the rum and I was pleasantly surprised! The cocktail was sweet and the limes mixed with the rum created a less strong taste, perfect for those like me that can’t handle there alcohol. We were then treated to one of Richard’s favourites, made by the man himself, the strawberry and vanilla Caipirinha. After tasting this I can be sure that the Caipirinha is something I’ll be ordering again – who’d have thought?
The restaurant was spacious and although busy the waiters and waitresses weren’t rushed off their feet and seemed to be in control, ensuring everyone had what they needed. The decor created a latin feel and the music was atmospheric but not overbearing.
We were sat in a comfy booth and prepared ourselves for the food to come. We started things off with an appetiser of Nachos. The home-cooked tortilla chips were loaded with melted cheese, jalapeños, salsa, sour cream and my personal favourite guacamole. We opted for an extra topping of chilli on one of the portions and left the other one as it was – to cater for the vegetarians. I wouldn’t necessarily class myself as a nachos expert, but a years worth of Doritos and melted cheese is consumed in my student house approximately every 2 weeks (honestly, I wish I was lying).
The nachos started kicked things off with a bang and set a high standard for what was to come. Net we were treated to a selection of some of their finest starters: quinoa ensalada (the healthy option), black bean bolinhos – definitely for those adventurous eaters, quesadilla’s and calamari (specially requested by me, obviously). I was majorly impressed with the whole selection and even our fussiest student wire writer said she couldn’t pick out a fault – a major achievement, trust me.
It’s safe to say the main’s did not disappoint. First served up was an amazing coconut chicken dish. The flavours in this dish were endless – cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic and cayenne to name a few. For those who love coconut and exotic flavours, a dish couldn’t get much better. As if this wasn’t enough, out came some sizzling fajitas to tempt us. Also packed with flavour, the fajitas came with a choice of either soft and tender chicken breast strips or a three mushroom filling, both mixed with coriander,lime, paprika, cumin, onions and peppers. I’m a big fan of fajitas and these have to be some of the best I’ve ever had. As you can probably guess we didn’t leave a lot.
Finally to finish off (not like we hadn’t eaten enough), churros and a choice of chocolate or caramel sauce. We were all pretty full but once the churros landed on the table no one could resist the doughy, cinnamon taste.
Las Iguanas is the perfect student destination for a fun night of food and drink without blowing the budget. Join them for selected Happy Hours and get your cocktails, coolers and beers. Incase this didn’t sound good enough, one last thing, they even do student discount.
Check out the menu and see if there’s a restaurant near you here: http://www.iguanas.co.uk