“ Address: Belvedere Road / Southwark / London SE1 8XT / Tel: 020 7620 1328 „
As a big lover of Mexican food, I had been wanted to try this restaurant for a while so when I found myself on South Bank a couple of weeks ago my friend and I decided to pay a visit.
We were having a quick look at the menu on display by the entrance of the restaurant just to check the variety and prices when we were ushered inside by the harassed looking maitre d'. It was a standard Thursday night and the restaurant was fairly full and there seemed to be a nice buzz but there wasn't a queue of people waiting. However when we requested a table for two, the maitre d' was pretty short with us and said he had a table right away but we would have to vacate by 8:30 (it was about 7pm) or we could wait for 45 mins. We decided to take the table as we thought we could easily be out by 8:30. The maitre d' then showed us to our table and handed us menus but was still very abrupt and not at all friendly.
There was quite a large variety of food on offer and a good wine list. This chain is pricier than competitiors like chiquitos so we expected the food to be of a high standard. Neither my friend or I were particularly ravenous so we decided to get a few of the smaller dishes to share between ourselves, a bit like tapas. however when the waitress came to take our order we were told that seeing as we were sat in the restaurant we couldn't order this and had to go for a full meal, and that if we wanted the smaller emals to share we would have to sit in the bar. My friend explained that we were not told this when we entered- obviously had we been we would have gone straight to the bar. The waitress then got her manager and we explained that we had not been told this- we were still ordering a significant quanitiy of food and also a couple of glasses of wine and we had already agreed to finish with the table by half 8. He went to see if there was a free table at the bar to move us, however there wasnt so he said we would have to wait until there was. We told him that we would just leave then as we were a bit fed up by this point, so he then let us stay.
However the service didn't get any better. The waitress seemed really put out that we had complained, even though we hadn't said anything particularly about her and hadn't complained in a rude way or with raised voices. She did a lot of sighing and didn't say thank you at all to us.
The food came quite quickly once we ordered however it was nothing special and definitely not good enough to make up for the service we had received. We were not asked whether everything was ok with the food and not asked whether we wanted any more drinks, although I got really thirsty at one point and had finished my glass.
When it came to payment we didn't want to leave a tip, however the card machine automatically put 10% of the bill on without asking us if this was ok or giving us an option to take it off. My friend not being the most observant of people did not notice this after she had already paid!!! However by this point we just wanted to get out of there and had had enough.
So basically, it was a very disappointing experience. The staff seemed really put out that we were there, we were not explained about the difference between the menus, the food was average and we were not given the option of whether to tip or not. I definitely prefer chiquitos and will not be returning to Las Iguanas!!
Las Iguanas review is a chain of Latin restaurants (think nachos, fajihtas, etc), it is in most parts of the country with most of them being in London. There wasn't however one in the North East and so therefore when we tried it when on holiday in London it was the first time although we all really like Mexican food and often have the Old El Paso mixes for fajihtas and enchiladas, so this was why we went.
We walked in at around 7pm, it was a good thing that we had phoned ahead and got a reservation because the place was absolutely packed! This would have had something to do with that we went the Sunday before bank holiday Monday though. It seemed to have a really good atmosphere, and there was loads of staff checking taking orders and delivering food. Throughout the night there was a steady stream of people, it seems to be a versatile place as some just came for drinks, some came for a snack before going out and some came for a proper meal with a group of friends.
Once we had sat down and ordered drinks (which came pretty much straight away), we were given the rather large menus to pursue. There is a reasonable selection of starters, maybe about 10, and there is an offer on there where you can get 5 for £21 before 7pm which is good for sharing and trying a bit of everything! There is rather a lot of main courses to choose from, so there will be something for everyone and these are split into different sections, eg 'Latin Street Food,' and 'Regional Selection.' A lot of the menu sounded really interesting and it was hard to make my choice but I ended up just going with something that I knew I would like. The dessert section has things you will have heard of with Mexican twists, we didn't have desserts but they were all under £5.
For my starter I shared 2 things with the other 3 people I was there with as we didn't want to spoil the main course! We had tortilla chips with salsa which was very nice, it seemed like the crisps were homemade, and the salsa was rather spicy, they went well together, and it was only £2.10 which is reasonable for what we got. Then we ordered a portion of the quesadilla and chose to have it with the meat filling of chicken, peppers, onions and cheese. We only got a few mouthfuls each as we shared it, mainly just to try it but if you were having it as a starter on your own then you would be full up, it was £4.70. the prices seemed really good for London.
Then I eventually decided for my main course I would have fajitas with sizzling chicken strips (you could have had them with mushrooms or steak or prawns) as I normally really love fajitas. These were no exception! They came sizzling hot and were served in many different dishes, with warm flour tortillas/wraps, tomato salsa, sour cream and guacamole. The combination of the dips worked really well, and they were all very nice and you could tell that they were authentic and homemade! The sour cream certainly helped cool down the spice. There was a lot there and there was too much to fill the 4 wraps, I thought that it was reasonable for £13.
I really enjoyed my meal in this restaurant, and thought it had a good atmosphere. It is also in a good location, on the Southbank of London which is near several tube stations and you can get to it by boat!