Style & Sustenance: Ibérica

Racing through Glasgow on a Friday night to get to dinner on time is a stressful experience. Once we step through the doors of Ibérica, however, we instantly relax: large, low-hung lamps and colourful walls make this new Spanish restaurant, in a former bank, feel intimate and warm. The décor is by the renowned Lázaro Rosa-Violán and the rich, earthy tones, work well with the red sandstone exterior.
This new hotspot (which also has a bar and a deli) speci­alises in food from the Asturias region. It is Ibérica’s eighth restaurant in the UK but its first in Scotland, with another due soon in Edinburgh. The marriage of a Scottish setting with a Spanish interior works well, perhaps because the northof Spain shares our Celtic roots, and Violán’s design reflects this – there are even Asturian bagpipes on display.

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The menu is extensive but thoroughly talked through by the engaging staff. Old favourites such as ham croquetas and patatas bravas are delivered to a high standard, but it is the lesser-known and more contemporary dishes that stand out  – crisp spring-onion tempura with lemon aioli, tender beef-cheek carpaccio and, exclusive to the Glasgow branch, the Botillo from El Bierzo, its own version of haggis.
Ibérica has a distinct buzz about it, and three hours zip past quickly. A last-minute purchase at the deli, still open at 10.30pm in true Spanish style, and we set out into the night, a blast of harsh Glasgow air the first reminder that we’re in Escocia not España.

Words Caitlin Clements

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