Last week saw another Las Iguanas open in Newcastle. Joining the Grey Street restaurant was a branch in a prime location on the Quayside, taking on the spot once occupied by La Tasca. Having enjoyed the Brazilian food options on the menu in the past, and knowing they had added a few more since our last visit, we booked in to check out the new eatery.
This Las Iguanas branch feels lighter than its sister restaurant in the heart of the city centre. Hues of blue, orange and red have been used to add colour to the interior, which I feel has been set up to evoke feelings of dining in an Copacabana beach hut rather than Newcastle’s Quayside. The location makes it perfect for drinks, with the outside area also receiving a bright makeover. It’s sure to be a hit on summer days with their 241 cocktail promotions. The separate bar area also has tables, occupied by local office workers who were clearly letting off steam after a busy day.
You can certainly beba cachaça aqui (drink cachaça here in Portuguese) with their Caipirinhas, which Mr. Canny always orders. If a Brazilian gives them a thumbs up they must be good, right?! He also opted to have Moqueca for mains again. This goes against my usual blog rules where we try something different if we return to a restaurant. I let him off, just this once. Given a specific vegetarian and vegan menu, there were lots of options to chose from for us all.
The Teen started his meal off with Paō de Queijo, served with a chipotle dip. These cheesy dough balls are a Brazilian classic, and are a new menu item for Las Iguanas. They were almost deflated when they arrived at the table, which is not how they should be. A good Pão de Queijo would also be soft and cheesy inside, which this was not. I ordered Dadinhos, which are also new to the repertoire. These smoky cubes of cheese are served with sweet chilli sauce and are delicious. They are similar to something I had at my cunhado’s BBQ in Porto Alegre.
Less photogenic were Mr. Canny’s starter of Chargrilled Asparagus and Refried Beans, so there is no picture. This side bears a remarkable resemblance to Feijoada, and its a shame Las Iguanas haven’t also added this classic to the new menu. Without sour cream and cheese this accompaniment is suitable for vegans. The asparagus was limp and I felt it had been cooked too long.
His Moqueca de Palmitos was a success, just like last time. His disappointment at the lack of coconut farofa remains, and it would be great if Las Iguanas found an alternative to the butter they use to toast the cassava flour in. Using palm hearts as a substitute for the traditional fish in this dish is a great idea, as the vegetable matches the texture and colour of the real deal.
The Teen’s Full Enchilada, which was stuffed with butternut squash and peppers, had just the right amount of heat for him to handle. A generous portion size too, he struggled to finish it. He knew he had one of his favourite desserts ever to follow, so left a little to save room.
My Fiesta Ensalada, which I chose to have with Halloumi, was a great mix of flavours. Soft avocado, charred corn, oily sundried tomatoes and sweet roasted potatoes were mixed with leaves and topped with crunchy seeds.
The Mr didn’t have room for dessert, which was disappointing as he wanted to try out the Mojito Jelly. This is a slight departure from the vegan-friendly sorbets which usually grace the menus of a restaurant, although this dessert is served with a scoop of their lime and lemon ice on the side. The Teen was determined to have another serving of the delicious Dulce de Leche Cheesecake, which was eaten with gusto. This has now usurped Man vs Grill’s as his favourite in the world. He said I could include his endorsement in the post.
I was keen to try out the Churros, which came served with a pot of Dulce de Leche for dunking. I’m not sorry to admit I could have managed 6 to myself as they were so light and not at all greasy like some of these fried sugary treats I’ve sampled elsewhere.
The new restaurant certainly lives up to the Latin spirit represented by the cuisine they serve. Visiting chain restaurants with a vegan means there are no nasty surprises, especially as Las Iguanas offer more than the usual salad options. Some people may be sniffy about dining in a ubiquitous high street restaurant, but for us it offers a consistent standard of food which Mr. Canny enjoys as a reminder of home. There were some minor niggles, but otherwise enjoyed trying out the new menu items and location of Las Iguanas.
Thanks for reading,
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