Glasgow is attracting a procession of culinary heavyweights. Restaurant brands are lining up to gain a landmark location in the city centre. The most sought after spaces for the big players are currently the handsome, historic buildings on St. Vincent Street. Add in a smattering of local talent like Bread Meats Bread and the newly opened Pizza Punks and there are all the ingredients for an exciting and competitive food scene.
All are welcome. Glasgow’s restaurant landscape has transformed in recent years and we are all reaping the benefits. On 30th September there will be another name added to the list of St. Vincent Street eateries. Award-winning Ibérica will open its first Scottish restaurant bringing glorious, authentic Spanish flavours to the city with a focus on food from the region of Asturias.
This is Ibérica’s eighth restaurant in the UK – each a beautifully-designed dining room offering an exceptional range of regional Spanish food and drink, including hand-carved jamon, rare cheeses and a range of beers, wines, sherries and ciders from some of Spain’s finest artisan producers.
Ibérica’s Executive Head Chef, Nacho Manzano has two Michelin stars to his name for his celebrated restaurant Casa Marcial and a further star for La Salgar, both based in Asturias in the North West of Spain. He’s worked alongside Group Head Chef César García to construct a dazzling a la carte menu that changes seasonally and is brimming with showstopping recipes that allow the flavours and textures of the produce to take centre stage.
The Glasgow venue sits on the corner of St Vincent Street and Hope Street. It is based in a late Victorian, red sandstone building which was at one time a Royal Bank of Scotland – now painstakingly refurbished by the Iberica team under the direction of Spanish designer, Lazaro Rosa Violan.
As one of the top three restaurant designers in the world, Violan has worked with Ibérica to design all of their restaurants, yet each has its own individual look and feel. The Glasgow restaurant’s design emphasises the Celtic heritage shared by Northern Spain and Scotland, and includes a set of Asturian bagpipes.
The space is divided between the restaurant, a wonderful marble bar and seating area, plus a private dining space for ten. Our favourite part is a delicatessen counter where you can sit and enjoy three different jamons, a selection of cured meats from small Spanish suppliers or freshly made bocadillo sandwiches, which are available to eat at the counter or takeaway.
We’ve visited twice so far, first to have a chat with chef César García – more on that in another post – then on Friday for a procession of tapas as an introduction to the menu.
Glasgow has a well establish taste for tapas. It’s more than just an enthusiasm for the dishes, it’s the style of dining, sharing small plates, that appeals and has ensured that Spanish cuisine has come to the fore.
Ibérica hasn’t even opened yet but we’re calling it right now. Their tapas are the best in the city. This is traditional recipes elevated to works of art alongside innovative, simple concoctions that rework classic Spanish flavours.
Staff are enthusiastic, well versed on the intricacies of the menu and eager to help explain the background to dishes. The wine list features some exclusive wines that are simply sublime.
It’s the cooking that’s truly going to make Ibérica a success in Glasgow – tapas taken to another level of taste and presentation.
Here’s our favourite items on the menu so far.