On Hope Street lies the hero of our story, Nacho Manzano’s Ibérica, in the heart of Glasgow city.

Today he’s flown in from Spain to salute the ushering in of a new menu available exclusively in Scotland for the first time.

I will make an exception tonight: I will drink alcohol, but not too much. Our waiter pours Tio Pepe En Rama into my glass and I’m converted. A delicate sherry with understated flavours and stealth-wealth aromas.

Nacho delivers a presentation about the ethos of the new menu, which is evolving from an emphasis on meat to a more refined pursuit of vegetable-based dishes and ingredients.

Our first course is fresh tomato, dried tomato, caper berries, avocado, seaweed, tomato water and a basil oil emulsion. A blend of ingredients, the combination of pungent tomato and basil bouquet has me rocking in my chair. The other dish is a light and refreshing dish of pickled vegetables, which has retained the maximum amount of taste. A future classic.

Next, we are served Maria Del Mar Gran Reserva Cava and roasted leeks and a leek oil made from the green leaves, horseradish and almond emulsion with toasted almonds. I feel immersed in the experience, like being in the cinema.  Our aubergine looks like chateaubriand, thick, and yielding. A griddled aubergine with an 11-vegetable stock, which has been cooked for 8 hours. Served on a bed of ceps and garnished with walnuts and rocket cress, I’m not shy in helping myself.

Then comes sautéed enoki mushrooms, cuttlefish and squid ink sauce. This is one of Nacho’s signature dishes at two Michelin star restaurant Casa Marcial. French cuisine can so often be blinkered and overworked but Nacho’s dishes ooze familial warmth. You want to bring your family, tell all your friends.

There are meatballs, intense and unforgettable. But the showstopper is the Cabraroca. A whole Cabra redfish from the Cantabrian sea, fried in crispy batter. A signature from Nacho’s Gloria restaurant, which has proved a real hit at Ibérica this winter. Served with Chivite Coleccion Reserva.  You eat all the fish except the central skeleton and use your hands – I’m not one to do away with tradition so I get stuck right in; the defining moment of the special occasion.

Textures of chocolate involves a chocolate ganache, sponge, ice cream meringue and crumble served with a peanut cream and apricot sauce. What Nacho’s done with the sponge…it needs to be experienced to be believed.

But I still can’t stop thinking about the Jamón bar I saw when I arrived. They serve three different kinds: Juan Pedro Domencq – Black Label Jamón, from Jabugo, in Huelva.  Four times awarded 3 gold stars as Ibérico ham, cured for 42 months (£12/£24); BEHER Bernardo Hernández, Green label jamón from Guijuelo in Salamanca, cured for over 26 months in a traditional way (£10/£20) and Jamón Serrano, cured for over 16 months, mild and low in salt (£5/£10).

Alternatively, you could have Trio de Jamónes, a tasty platter of all three jamónes.  Ibérica’s jamón is made from 100% pure-breed, black Iberian pig. These pigs mature slowly; freely roaming the Spanish countryside, grazing in fields and acorn woods.  Can’t wait!

If you are heading to Glasgow this year, ensure you catch Ibérica on Hope Street.  You won’t be disappointed.

Menu available to the public in March.



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