This summer Team GB chef de mission Mark England (great name) declared that this was the best ever Olympics for the GB squad, so we thought what better way to celebrate than to check out the latest branch of fabulous Brazilian restaurants Las Iguanas to recently open, down at Brighton Marina?
For those of you not familiar with the brand, Las Iguanas has a range of restaurants across the UK offering a full Brazilian dining experience, and Brighton is particularly spoilt in now having two (the original is by the library in the Jubilee quarter).
For those of you in further outposts of Sussex the other nearest restaurants are Woking and Portsmouth, and there’s quite a few in London. But if you want a taste of Rio without the journey, you would be hard pressed to beat Las Iguanas.
So the new place in the Marina is a fabulous location – absolutely perfect for sitting outside and having a caipirinha (Brazil’s national cocktail, made with cachaça, sugar and lime) or a margarita by the clinking boats, watching the world drift by.
Inside it’s got a brightly coloured canteen feel, and eating there rather feels like being on holiday – there’s a hum and hubbub going on, noisy music and a fun feel. This is a light-hearted, buzzing sort of place, not ideally perfect for a quiet romantic dinner a deux, but fun for a group, or a more upbeat eating out experience.
The food is a passion for the team – and yes, you will find traditional dishes like fajitas and burritos, so there’s plenty of Tex-Mex about it, but I honestly think the food shines when you delve into the more traditional Brazilian dishes.
The menu is driven by a desire to produce exciting, colourful food, but uses fresh British produce and the fusion has its roots in the 16th century, influenced by Native American Indian food, Spanish, Portuguese and African. It’s food with a pulse.
On the night we went down, we were lucky enough to be greeted by carnival dancers and cocktail makers – I don’t think they’re there every night but it almost feels like they could be and it would be alright. If you’re looking for a cracking night out with some food packed with flavour, some great samba and salsa sounds, and strong liquor, this is the place for you!
WHAT DID WE EAT?
NEW CEVICHE £5.95
Sustainable raw white fish cured in Tiger’s milk’; a lime, ginger & Amarillo chilli dressing, with carrot, pink pickled onion, roquito pepper drops & topped with coriander & sweet potato crisps. Zesty and fresh, highly recommended.
Tortilla, filled, folded, pan-toasted & served with tomato salsa. We went for the chicken one, very tasty.
Deep-fried squid in crisp cayenne & cassava crumb served with creamy aioli. A chunky batter, zingy flavour.
NEW CHILLI CON CARNE £10.95
A rich chunky beef & black bean chilli, with spring onion rice & jalapeño buttermilk cornbread. You can choose a spiced butter to melt into your chilli, and we went for ‘Hot – Habanero & pequin chilli’ – quite a kick!
FAJITAS with prawns £15.25
Fresh cooked to order in a special mix of spices, onions & peppers. Dished up sizzling, with guacamole, soured cream, jalapeños, tomato salsa & soft wheat tortillas. Impressed with the size of the fat prawns, this is a mahoosive dish for the hungry!
A creamy, set coconut pudding with mixed berries & mango purée. Bit odd this one, probably an acquired taste.
DULCE DE LECHE MACADAMIA CHEESECAKE £5.50
Creamy vanilla cheesecake with roasted macadamia nuts and dulce de leche caramel sauce. This is definitely one of the stars of the show! It’s far lighter than it looks, and melts in the mouth. The dulce de leche is also far smoother and lighter than traditional butter and sugar caramels. Another highly recommended dish.
LAS IGUANAS BRIGHTON MARINA
Unit 3 Brighton Marina
Outer Harbour Development
Tel: 01273 805 516