The wonderful thing about my mother city of Liverpool is that it’s a hive of independent activity. From authentic Indian tiffin boxes and vegan junk food to a café dedicated solely to the production of fresh, flavoured bagels, Liverpool is a breeding ground for local start-ups.
In fact, the Liverpool independent scene has blossomed so zealously that it has inspired the creation of not one but two permanent food markets as a platform for its vendors, as well as a week-long celebration aptly named Liverpool Independents’ Week.
The best part? It’s showing no signs of slowing down.
The worst part? It means I often end up overlooking the franchise and chain restaurants that I used to frequent so often in favour of shopping – or should I say eating – local.
One of highstreet eateries I used to love stuffing my face at was Las Iguanas in Liverpool ONE. Many a sizzling fajita and many a pitcher of Cherry Fizz were consumed on its suntrap of a terrace but as the city’s food and drink offering expanded over the years, so did my edible horizons (and my waistline).
So, when an invitation to go and check out the newly refurbished Liverpool Las Iguanas landed in my inbox, I scribbled it down in my diary faster than you could say pass the Piña Coladas!
True to my word, I had ordered myself a two-for-one set of Piña Coladas (£8.95) within ten minutes of pulling myself into our table because it has to be said, these guys do do one of the best in town.
It was every bit as indulgent, tropical and cheek-warming as I had remembered and a great way to kick start an evening of Brazilian, Mexican and Latin American celebration.
Feeling very much in the spirit of things – quite literally – we also sipped our way through one of the new additions from the extensive Las Iguanas cocktail menu which went by the name of Berry Collins (£9.95) …
Not my usual poison of choice – you know I love my dessert cocktails – but this candy-pink smash of Berri Acai vodka, strawberry, hibiscus, sherbet and soda went down an absolute treat.
As well as a Piña Colada par excellence, I also recall that Las Iguanas serve up a mean bowl of chilli but I thought, in honour of the new look and updated menu, I’d go for something I hadn’t tried before. Flash forward about 15 minutes and there I am, tucking into a Bahian Coconut Chicken curry which came served in a terracotta serving dish, alongside some spring onion rice and seasoned greens.
The Bahian Coconut Chicken was de-licious. It came from the Brazilian segment of the menu and was comprised of tender chicken fillet fried in spices and coated in a coconut, garlic and tomato sauce. It might have been a smidge heavy on the oil but for the incredible flavours and seasoning, I’ll lead that one slide.
My partner in dine for the evening also chose to eat from the Brazilian nook of the multicultural menu and went for the Cheesy Butternut Squash Maracana. This transpired to be an equally delicious concoction of veggies, palm hearts and spinach in a rich cheese and tomato sauce all served in a sourdough bread bowl.
Believe it or not, there was still room for dessert after all of that – yes, even the Sweet Potato Fries with Aioli that I have neglected to mention thus far. So we summoned the Las Iguanas dessert menu after our main meals and settled on going ‘halfies’ on a Dulce de Leche Macadamia Cheesecake and some Creamy Caramel Cake.
It has to be said, both were a combination of vanilla and caramel flavours with enough dulce de leche to make you feel nauseous but wickedly delightful nonetheless. Las Iguanas most definitely excel in their savoury offering but if you’ve got a dessert stomach that needs satisfying, there’s plenty here to get your lips smackin’.
I was very kindly invited to review Las Iguanas but all words, photographs, opinions, teeth, hair, boobs and nails are my very own.