Iberico, Derby (& Nottingham)

Another post from the Motherland today, dear Readers. And so dedicated am I to the pursuit of truth (and excellent food) that I tried this restaurant TWICE IN TWO DAYS just to make sure that this post is perfect. I am so good to you. You are so welcome.

Now, Iberico is a little on the expensive side; the dishes are generally between about £6-£10 and because they’re small you need at least two/three each. When you take into account charcuterie/cheese/booze this can add up, especially as the atmosphere is so nice you can – for example – sit and talk and eat for the best part of 4 hours without realising. HOWEVER do not let lack of funds spoil your tapas enjoyment, as the ‘express menu’ here is absolutely cracking value. Bread, two tapas and a pud for £13.95 at lunchtime (12-2pm) or early evening (5.30-6.45pm). The best thing to do, in my humble opinion, is get there for 6.30pm, order your express menu bread and tapas, then once you’ve eaten that go nuts with the normal menu. Means that your express menu dishes are effectively half price, and you can still have your pud no matter what time you order! Bargain!

The express menu starts with the Catalan tomato bread which is lovely; plenty of fresh tomato with lashings of garlic. The tapas available is also really impressive – some restaurants won’t put the good stuff on an early-bird-type menu, but not here. First I have to tell you about the inside out chicken wings.

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Look at them all lined up! The glaze on these things is AMAZING, a mixture of chilli, barbecue, honey, sesame and fairy dust (probs) make a tasty, tasty wing. And the ‘inside out’ part means that they can be nibbled quite delicately off the end of the bone, which is always a positive in a reasonably posh restaurant. Big thumbs up. Lizzy insisted that we order the ox cheek, which I have to admit I was sceptical of. I am happy to hold my hands up and say I was wrong to doubt, the meat was perfectly tender and just fell apart under the knife and went perfectly with the parsnips and red cabbage. Basically a really tiny, really good Sunday dinner.

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From the main menu we ordered the lamb and the crispy pork belly. The lamb was unexpectedly delicious – little meatballs, pink inside, with a rich, mushroom sauce which went perfectly with the meat. The pork belly was also lovely and came with apple mustard which cut through the fatty – almost creamy – meat nicely.  It also had little, light, pork crackers (think prawn crackers, but not) which added a bit of crunch to the dish.  Yum.

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The range of fish and vegetarian dishes here is really good as well. The most expensive dish on the menu is the miso black cod (not strictly Spanish I suppose, but whatever), which was perfectly flaky with the rich, oily flavour you expect from this fish. I have to be honest, I’m not sure it’s twice as good as the other dishes on the menu (it’s twice the price) but it was lovely. The baked mussels (from the express menu) were really nice; the spicy alioli was really creamy and made it almost thermidor-y.  The fact that it was served with roe and spring onion was a nice contrast to the creaminess and made the seafood flavour stand out. Haddock with edemame was perhaps the only slightly disappointing dish I tried. This may have been because it came after a couple of meat dishes, but for me the delicate flavour of the haddock was a bit lost, and I thought that the sauce was overpowering.

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From a veggie perspective (yes, I can still do that) I’d definitely recommend the roast gem squash with giant cous cous and chestnut. This was a lovely, wintery dish and the cous cous was like a creamy risotto. Yum.

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What we ate (bear in mind this was over two visits, I’m not a complete piglet!):

Catalan tomato bread

Baked mussels with spicy alioli

Ox cheek with parsnip and red cabbage

Pork belly croquettas

Inside out chicken wings

(all from the express menu)

Spicy miso black cod

Haddock with edemame

Crispy pork belly

Lamb albondigas (meatballs…)

Beef onglet skewers

Roast gem squash with cous cous and chestnut

Goats cheese and spinach piquillo peppers

Paleta Iberico de Bellota Reserva D.O (posh ham. If you like ham, ALWAYS have the most expensive you can afford, you get what you pay for, and this was bloody delicious)

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Aged manchego with pickled fig and smoked paprika (posh cheese. As with ham, always have the best you can afford. Again, this was bloody delicious – a world away from insipid manchego you get in the supermarket but sharp and tasty instead)

Peanut butter and chocolate pave

Pistachio glazed pastry

Churros & hot chocolate

So pretty much the whole menu.  Would still totally go again though…

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