Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Las Iguanas, Cardiff

Las Iguanas is a bright green-fronted restaurant, nestling between the Cardiff Bridal Centre and a sex shop, with its origins in Bristol and its heart in Latin American.

The first Las Iguanas opened in the St Nicholas area of Bristol in 1991. There are now around 22 in the UK. Las Iguanas on Mill Lane in Cardiff’s Café Quarter has been open for 16 years this April, while a new outlet opens in Cardiff Bay this March.

At lunchtime today, we opted for Brazilian main courses on a two-for-one special offer. We shared a starter of molletos (“toasted ciabatta rubbed with garlic butter and topped with refried black bean and melted cheese, served with pink pickled onion, radish and spring onion”). This was lighter and tastier than it sounded from the menu description.

I had the Sea Bass Con Coco, which the menu told me was “a coastal Bahian dish of sea bass fillet, mussels in their shells, wilted spinach & crayfish tails in a light, fragrant saffron & coconut broth with little new potatoes, cannelloni beans & baby tomatoes.” The fish was cooked to perfection. A spoon was provided for eating the tasty broth. This dish was fresh and zingy, with an subtle underlying hotness.

My partner had the Xinxim Brasilian lime chicken, the restaurant’s signature dish (and reportedly Pelé’s favourite). The chicken in a creamy crayfish and peanut sauce arrived at table in a crockery bowl over a flame, along with a plate of rice, sweet plantain, and green beans. Crunchy coconut farofa (toasted manioc flour) came seperately and could be sprinkled on top, although we agreed this didn’t seem to add much to the dish. I helped finish the ample rice, as this dish was the more filling of the two.

We washed our meals down with a couple of non-alcoholic cocktails each (the best being the lemon and lime Citrus Cooler). Final bill (for two) came to £21.30.

You can buy chilli sauces (Bart Spices of Bristol), coffee, gift vouchers and CDs of the Latin American music they play on your way out.

Las Iguanas is a great option if you want to treat yourself to something a little different for lunch.

Mill Lane Cardiff CF10 1FL. Tel: 02920 226 373. Email:

Opening Hours:
Sun-Thu 12.00-23.00
Fri-Sat 12.00-23.30
Bar Open Fri-Sat til Late

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