I was recently invited to try the new Spring menu at Ibérica, located in the vibrant and lively Spinningfields, Manchester. I cannot tell you how excited I was for this as Ibérica had actually been on my list of must-visit restaurants for a while, and I just hadn’t got round to trying it yet.
The evening was hosted by the lovely team at Ibérica, and was created to showcase the new seasonal dishes on offer at the restaurant, as well as to introduce the art of drinking from a Porrón, which is a traditional glass wine pitcher used in many regions of Spain.
The evening began downstairs in the more casual bar and dining area of the restaurant. I absolutely love the decor and the atmosphere of Ibérica; the red hues and authentic detail bring reminiscent feelings of holidaying in Spain, and taking in the incredible culture.
We were welcomed with a delicious Cava Vilarnau to start, which was a lovely light drink to begin the evening, and the perfect accompaniment to our appetisers. Generous sharing boards of Trios de Jamones, Toasted bread with tomato, bread with olive oil and the cheese selection boards were brought around for us to wet our appetite. The Trio de Jamones were delicious (as were all the other plates), and I will definitely be trying this again. The staff were on hand to explain the amazing process behind the meats, and why this is such a staple in Spanish family households.
Whilst the guests mingled and enjoyed a taste of what was to come from the evening, we were shown how to drink from a Porrón. It is an unusual cross between a wine bottle and a watering can, and the art is to pour the liquid into your mouth and slowly move the glass away from your face and up into the air, with the liquid quite easily still pouring into your mouth from a distance. We wisely tried this with water rather than wine, and actually managed to successfully drink from the Porrón without any spillage!
After everyone had enjoyed the appetisers and Cava, and had a go at drinking from the Porrón, we were taken upstairs to be seated in the restaurant area. The tables were beautifully set, and everyone eagerly found their seats and studied the menu for the evening, to see what other delicious dishes we had in store.
The first round of tapas included Baby Carrot Tempura, Crispy Cauliflower and Pak Choi, Octopus a la Gallega, and Ensaladilla Rusa. Each dish was so well presented and everything looked incredibly appetising. As each dish was presented, the chef kindly came out from the kitchen and explained to the guests what everything was and how it was prepared. The matched wine to accompany these dishes was a white – Perro Verde Verdejo from Rueda, which is actually only available at Ibérica in the UK.
The wine went down amazingly with all of the guests; it was quite sweet and very easy drinking, and the perfect wine that would go with any dish from the menu. The food was just delicious, and everyone seemed surprised at how amazing the simple vegetable dishes tasted. My favourite of the first four had to be the Octopus a la Gallega – which is not surprisingly one of Ibérica’s most popular dishes. The combination of the different plates worked so well together, they had the perfect mixture of textures and flavours, with nothing too rich or heavy which is ideal for a Spring Menu.
Next up we were served Croquethsde Jamon, Twice Cooked Lamb, Chicken Wings in Canadian Mojo Picon Sauce and Pitu Chicken Rice, with a red wine accompaniment of Comenge from Ribera del Duero, which is also only available at Ibérica in the UK.
These plates were more filling and meaty than the first round, so these were almost more like the main dishes of the menu. The Twice Cooked Lamb was quite possibly the nicest lamb I have ever tasted, and literally melted in the mouth. The Croquetas are also one of the most popular dishes on the menu at Ibérica, and were perfectly crispy with a hot, fluffy potato filling. The red wine went down just as well as the white, and was another choice that would go great with any dish from the menu if your preference is a glass of red.
We ended the night on desserts, which consisted of Toinilo de Cielo and Crema Catalana Foam, with a matched dessert wine – Noe Pedro Ximénez. I am not usually one for ordering dessert after such a huge dinner, but these were both very light and refreshing, and would be the ideal way to end the evening if you are partial to something sweet after dinner. The dessert wine was, of course, sweet and quite rich, but very fruity and full of flavour.
The whole night was incredible and I must say that I do not have one bad thing to say about the restaurant or the experience. We stayed to chat to the lovely Ana who is the Head of Marketing at Ibérica, who filled us in on her background and lots of great stories about the brand and the history.
The evening was by far one of my favourite restaurant events to date, and I am already excited to head back to Ibérica to try out some more of their wine and other items on the menu. I would highly recommend this to anyone, as they have such a great range of dishes to suit all tastes and diets, and I would 100% recommend trying some of the wine too.
A huge thank you to the team at Ibérica and Echo PR for such a lovely evening and stunning food – as ever,all opinions are my own.