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Review

Iberica Canary Wharf

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Iberica
12 Cabot Square
London E14 4QQ
Tel: 0207 112 8984

If anyone were to think that Spanish cuisine amounts to lots of paella and the expressive sounds of flamenco then Iberica certainly challenges those perceptions. In a good way of course.

Modernist both in design and in its interpretation of Spanish cooking, the Canary Wharf site - there is one in Marylebone too - offers a surprisingly eye-catching interior that somehow manages to get the mix of the contemporary, airy and well-lit environs one would expect from any decent London restaurant with just the right hint of the rustic Iberian. Expansive, open and with two mezzanine areas overlooking the main restaurant, the atmosphere puts the emphasis on the casual and very democratic.

Ditto the cooking.

Cured meats and cheeses as you would expect from a good Spanish restaurant take up a section of their own on the menu, From peppery meats to palate tingling cheeses, it's a worthy selection to chose from. The tapas, which have been split into "from the sea", "vegetables", "from the land" and the "eggs and croquettes" lists, garner a fashionably hip presentation but are no less flavoursome for it.

Black rice with cuttlefish, prawns and alioli sauce along with the smoked cod fritters with lemon alioli sauce, are both richly satisfying. Fried chorizo lollypops with pear alioli sauce are equally good. But whilst the Corn 'torto' fritter with a creamy Cabrales cheese scramble is a tad on the bland side, its shortcomings are more than made up by a delicious wake-up call of the gazpacho of red berries, beetroot and anchovy.

Assuming you have room, even by the standards of the final course being made to share, the portion sizes are gargantuan. Though it may well be tempting to try the 30 day hung organic rib of beef Bilbao style, it's difficult to avoid diving into the chicken and garden vegetable paella. Though you have to give 12 hours notice, once the whole pan arrives at your table, there is enough tender chicken and rice to feed an army. So make sure you have room.

Thankfully, the desserts don't take a more heavy route on the stomach and of the ones to recommend, the strawberry soup with yoghurt and chocolate is light and refreshing. Wines have also not been overlooked and offer a sturdy choice with enough by the glass to keep everyone happy.

Staff boast more than adequate know-how and speedy service with punters made up of lots of suits from the locality.