Restaurant reviews

Game for winter: Iberica’s seasonal menu

The cold has well and truly settled in here in Leeds, which is bad news for our extremities, but great news for our stomachs! After all, there’s no better excuse to indulge in comfort food, and rich, warming delicacies, than the true onset of winter.

On a wintery, frosty Friday evening, we found the perfect hideaway for a couple of hours in Iberica in the city centre. A more beautiful restaurant you will not find in the whole of Leeds, and with the recent addition of a game tapas menu, you’ll struggle to find a more beautiful array of food on offer as well.

Feeling like we needed to pad out our waistlines to face the cold weather to come over the weekend, we started proceedings off with some patatas bravas (perfectly cooked potatoes piled high with aioli – delicious) and some skinny chips for our little girl. With a pile of plump green olives and some chips on her plate, she couldn’t have been happier!

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Carb-fest over, we indulged in some twice cooked lamb and garlic prawns. The lamb was tender and brought to life by the smoky flavour of the red peppers, and the prawns were garlicky in all the right ways. Dipping a potato into the garlicky sauce was a thing of beauty.

We moved on to the new element to Iberica’s offering, their game tapas menu. First up was the duck, with beetroot served four ways and girolle mushrooms dotted across the plate. The duck was seriously pink, which let the quality of the meat shine through, and despite not being the biggest fan of beetroot, the textures of beetroot lent a depth to the dish as a whole.

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The duck set the standard for the next dish, the venison, to live up to, and it was somehow able to hit the same heights. Again, the meat was allowed to sing thanks to being served on the pinker side of pink, and the gamey flavours were this time enhanced by the addition of artichokes topped with the earthy tang of roasted pine nuts. A real winner of a dish, and a must-order for any fan of this meat.

The final sample of the game tapas menu came in the form of quail, served in a mushroom sauce. So delicious was this dish that some members of our party (no names named!) found themselves lifting up the quail body to lick the sauce off it. Not especially sophisticated, but very, very tasty!

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In a bid to add a few more centimetres to our waists, we decided not to turn down the offer of pudding, and soon found ourselves presented with a plate of fresh churros with hot dark chocolate sauce and coffee flan. The churros were crisp, sugary, and the sweetness offset well by the bitter edge of the dark chocolate. The coffee flan had a delicate texture to it, and the flavour of the coffee was balanced well so as not to be too overwhelming.

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Iberica deserves to have a reputation in Leeds as a beautiful dining location both in terms of setting and the food it serves. The game tapas is a seasonal addition to their menu that brings an extra element of warmth and comfort to their tapas offerings, and you really should try to squeeze in a booking before Christmas to sample some of their festive flair.

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