What do you get, how much was it and how easy to prepare?
Restaurant dining is sadly not an option right now. So when many of our favourite chefs and restaurants - who had never previously offered delivery - began to do so, with some getting really creative in the face of lockdown, we were intrigued.
One of the most popular features on Manchester Confidential has always been our honest, unannounced and impartial restaurant reviews. Our readers come to us for the lowdown, confident that we know our stuff and will tell it straight. Without restaurants, we've not been able to write restaurant reviews. But it’s what we do.
So we’re launching a new series, giving you the scoop on some of the many delivery options that have sprung up. We’ll buy it, eat it - cook it if we have to - and let you know how it was. We’re not going to be scoring these ‘reviews’ - it doesn’t seem right - but we’ll let you know what you can expect and where's worth spending your money.
What? - tapas from Iberica on Deliveroo
Iberica tangoed into Spinningfields in 2014, showing Manchester that tapas in Britain did not have to mean uninspired chains churning out Brits-abroad favourites that no self respecting Spaniard would go near. Here, finally, was top quality charcuterie, incredible cheese, olive oil you'd be happy to drown in and a fandango of innovative, palate-strumming tapas from three Michelin star head chef Nacho Manzano. Paving the way for the likes of La Bandera, Lunya, El Gato and Tast, Iberica were on the cusp of the burgeoning Spanish food revolution we've welcomed into Manchester this past half-decade.
I put a frock on anyway, ready to see if those fancy dishes travel well by bike
One of the draws of restaurants in Spinningfields was always the glamour. This was a part of town you'd get dressed up to visit, and a meal in Iberica's stunning two-storey space always felt like a special occasion. Last week, the restaurant announced that it would be teaming up with Deliveroo to deliver the goods to locked down Mancs. My flat doesn't have quite the same wow-factor as the 200 cover restaurant, but I put a frock on anyway, ready to see if those fancy dishes travel well by bike.
What do you get and how much does it cost?
This is social food at a markedly anti-social time. Luckily I'm locking down with my long-suffering partner. In a restaurant, we’d usually order between five and seven dishes between us. We chose something from each section; classics like tortilla (with chorizo) and croquetas, a couple of more creative dishes (aubergine with sheep’s cheese, confit chicken with romesco sauce and grilled artichokes), a ‘platter’ of cheese and cooked meats and a couple of bottles of lovely Asturian cider - there’s sherry and an excellent selection of wines too. There’s also a deli section (bottled pulses, sherry vinegar, pickled anchovies) which I’d probably go to town on next time.
What do you have to do and how difficult is it?
As with most things delivered on two wheels, the food arrives warm but not piping hot so you might like to re-heat some of it. The tortilla, gooey in the middle, was perfect for me but a blast in the oven would also cook the eggs more if that’s your thing. The aubergine dish came deconstructed with little pots of honeyed walnuts, pesto and rocket. Ensaladilla Rusa included shards of flatbread to decorate (or just use as a scoop). Cheese and charcuterie is vacuum packed. There’s room to have fun with plating if you want to, but no need for much effort at all.
Is it any cop?
Even with all this extra time on our hands, to make such a varied range of tapas dishes at home would be quite an undertaking. It was a treat to get such a feast delivered within the hour. The cider was chilled, ready to pop, and everything was warm enough for us.
Unfortunately, the croquetas arrived squashed. That lightness that makes them so delicate succumbed them to the perils of delivery. Perhaps these would work better chilled and ready to finish at home? Also, it seems chef forgot to include any tuna - the most expensive element - in our Russian salad. But if now is not a time for forgiveness, I don’t know when is. These were small blips in an otherwise delightful spread. The standout was the charcuterie and cheese - something Iberica is famous for. We loved a lightly smoked San Simon and a fudgy Rey Silo made a dream team with the cider. Overall it’s a little on the pricey side but I think it’s worth it for a once in a while splash out.
Iberica, Spinningfields Square, 14-15 The Avenue, Hardman St, Manchester M3 3HF
All reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship.
Lockdown delivery reviews will not be scored but assessed on the below criteria.
Value for money
At over £60 for two people to feel full, it's not cheap. But you do get what you pay for and this is the good stuff.
Packaging and delivery
Environmentally friendly cardboard tubs and a minimal amount of plastic. Delivery within the hour. Some dishes didn't travel too well.
The hardest bit was opening the tubs - so not hard at all then.
Quality and quantity
Not your average tapas joint, this is high quality fare. We ordered exactly the right amount, you might need more if you have a really big appetite.