Tapas enthusiasts, lovers of skyscrapers and modern architecture, those who work and eat in the financial sector but who don’t want to pay through the nose (I assume such people exist?), people who want a light meal to share with a group of friends…
España en Gran Bretaña
Ibérica La Terraza could be described as a Mediterranean daydream located straight at the centre of financial iniquity, Canary Wharf.
Stepping up to the Terrace, you almost forget that you’re in one of the business capitals of the world…
But this contrast works remarkably. Almost as if you are in an oasis of sorts, a more relaxed, simple place amidst the hustle and bustle of the suits and the city.
Iberica’s flagship restaurant in Asturias, Northern Spain, netted Exec Chef Nacho Manzano not one but two Michelin Stars, so La Tarraza sure promises a lot.
La Terraza is styled around one of Madrid’s terrace restaurants, and by design it certainly feels authentic. They brought in renowned Catalan designer Lázaro Rosa Violán, and the layout feels open and ‘clean’ without being sparse. The whole place is cooled ever so slightly and tinged with the smell of water vapour coming off of the fountain that La Terraza is next to. We visited it on a cool summer evening and the various elements of the atmosphere conspired for the perfect design.
Latin music in a variety of styles plays softly in the background and all the staff have almost unintelligibly thick Spanish accents, with a real passion for the food and drink. Which can only be good.
Speaking of passion, we got to hang out with head chef César Garcia, who made some recommendations on what we should try out and generally infected us with his crazy Hispanic food charisma. A super dynamic guy, you could watch him direct the staff, whilst he flitted from table to table, looking after all the guests and ensuring everybody was having an excellent time (and they seemed to be!).
La Terraza is located just across the street from it’s sister restaurant, Ibérica Canary Wharf (and there’s another one to be found in Marylebone) And, considering it’s position in the centre of the UK banking universe, La Terraza’s prices are actually very reasonable – better than I thought they’d be. Mains are around £5-9 and a full breakfast wirh coffee and juice for £10
What to try? Well, the beauty of Tapas is that you get lots of small meals to taste and share with friends, so it’s great for trying things without overcommitting to something you might not like. This is all part of the Tapas culture, a social dining experience where everybody gets a bit of everything and shares it out. My personal favourites from the night were the Jamón ibérico…
…and the honey roasted aubergine and pine nuts…
…and the shortribs with green mojo. Cooked off the bone to perfection. Can never go wrong with the beef.
Another fun recommendation is drinking some wine from the porrón, a type of traditional Spanish wine pitcher designed to be shared amongst a group of people, but hygienically (done right, the tapered glass spout doesn’t touch the mouth).
The trick here is to snap it back when you are done drinking so that it doesn’t dribble out the spout. The porrón can be rough on newbies, and you can often tell someone who lacks experience with the ‘correct’ drinking technique…
Having eaten quite a lot of Spanish food in my life (Mum lived for a long time in Spain and basically brought the culture home on her return) I can honestly say that this is some of the best Spanish food I’ve ever had, even compared with what I’ve tried in some of the more expensive eateries in Spain.
The prices are reasonable, and in terms of eating in the summer, it is an experience that I think all humans should enjoy.
So now I’d like to come back in winter, try some different and see what their take is on it then.
Ibérica La Terraza
Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 4QQ
020 7636 8650