Restaurant Review: Las Iguanas, The Trafford Centre

Las Iguanas – La Paz’d The Test

Las Iguanas is thankfully on the perimeter of the Trafford Centre eating area, sheltered as much as possible from the crowds of traipsing shoppers, and the cast of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings. However, it struggled to create any real identity and Caipirinhas atmosphere, due to the forced nature of the Disneyland nature of the mall. The lack of any walls or perimeters between the restaurant and the rambling consumers didn’t help.

The Las Iguanas menu was attractive, well laid out and diverse without being overbearing; coincidentally, very much like my Latin American friends. The “vivo; hot, hot, hot very hot habanero chicken wings” (their real name) were full of lip-smacking tangy flavour. They were perfect for spicy food lovers, who aren’t registered insane. It was disappointing when only two small wings arrived, as it didn’t suggest this on the menu, but for £2.90 it was not unreasonable. The delicious sounding Albondigas; lamb meatballs with apple, parmesan, mint and nutmeg served with garlic and coriander rice was another dish full of flavour and surprisingly very well balanced. The braised tomato sauce the lamb arrived in wasn’t particularly flavourful, and the sauce a little thin. Again the portion sizes weren’t massive, but this was taken from the ‘Quick & Light Lunch Bites’ menu. The desert menu suggested more tequila and received a wry smile of approval. The Affogato Cubano was chosen, and a delicious but microscopic scoop of dulce de leche ice cream drowned in spiced rum espresso promptly arrived.

The Las Iguanas Cocktail Menu looked exciting and well matched the food; however, the Iguana Cosmo was a rookie mistake. It was luminous, syrupy and bland (and not double strained). In fairness to Las Iguanas, this will likely appeal to the casual cocktail drinker, who doesn’t appreciate that cocktails should taste of the alcohol within it. The Pisco Sour was thankfully sour and tasted of decent Pisco. With very generous Happy Hour drinking times it is harsh to be overly critical. Furthermore, the wider drinks menu contained interesting details such as Caipirinhas with Apricot (no me neither) and Espresso Martinis with Guyanese rum.

Finally, a heavily pregnant lady (I hope!) was our main point of contact – thank you for your efficiency and pleasantries.

Las Iguanas Review Summary

Atmosphere 4  Cost 7  Quality 7 Service 8

Find Las Iguanas Trafford Centre

Restaurant Review: The Aspinall Arms, Near Clitheroe

The Aspinall Arms – Picturesque Posh Pub Grub

The River Ribble stretches around the encircled green pastures, while a medieval church older than Jesus looks over this idylically located gastro-pub. Aided by its pretty front facade, The Aspinall Arms Clitheroe provides real character. The interior of The Aspinall Arms was equally charming, with muted tones and pleasing attention to detail. I enjoyed leafing through the eclectic book collection, soaking in the quaint atmosphere, feeling quite the country gent.

Service was excellent by an approachable Lancashire Lass from start to finish. Although the food arrived sluggishly, which was pre-emptively apologised for. Aside from a lack of welcome and immediate direction upon arrival, The Aspinall Arms Clitheroe service was faultless.

The Aspinall Arms Clitheroe Menu all sounded tempting, although was a frenetic mixture of British gastro-pub stuff overly punctuated with a plethora influences. Despite The Aspinall Arms Clitheroe quintessential British appearance, it’s foreign muck Charcuterie Board was its highlight. I found seeing Rabbit & Prune Suet Pudding and Fragrant Thai Chicken salad on the same menu slightly disconcerting. I had falsely high expectations for the Smoked Haddock & Salmon Fishcakes, which were well formed and seasoned but one dimensional and lacking in smoke. The Rump Steak was mouth watering medium rare, fiercely seared and tasted beautifully beefy. The obligatory glass of Malbec made an appearance, which performed its function competently. Speaking of alcohol, The Aspinall Arms Clitheroe had a freakishly large display of whiskies which was marvellous to ogle.

The Aspinall Arms Clitheroe wasn’t the cheapest place in the world, but the charming surroundings and fresh ingredients justified its not unreasonable price. It’s a pub unlikely to provide everyday eats but one likely to return to. For the ten evenings a year when the weather permits Al Fresco dining, The Aspinall Arms Clitheroe would be delightful. For a post-church, Sunday wee dram – nowhere could be better.

The Aspinall Arms
Review Summary

Atmosphere 9  Cost 6  Quality 7  Service 8

Find The Aspinall Arms
Near Clitheroe