I was delighted to be invited along to the rebrand evening at Las Iguanas in Gunwhalf, Portsmouth last week. I have been there before a couple of times, but not for a long time. I was excited to see what changes have been made, particularly after the recent news of Jamie's Italian in Gunwhalf closing as of 1st November 2017, widely reported to be because of falling sales and growing costs with Brexit looming.
Heres the press bit: "Las Iguanas Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth has had a makeover this month with a vibrant new look. The quirky restaurant décor reflects the team’s most recent travels to South America, and guests can enjoy an invigorating space that sees comfy banquettes teamed with a backdrop of sunshine shades of yellow, sky blue and turquoise."
Las Iguanas has "a team of skilled chefs who love cooking from scratch; discovering unique flavours and inspiring recipes from across Latin America and bringing them to life through high quality, fresh ingredients."
Originally I was going to be attending with Jess, but my mate date date changed last minute and Colin came along. It was really nice to sit down with a good friend, some good food and chat. Las Iguanas have created a very cool atmosphere, that is great for a catch up with friends, a mate date or a date date.
The first thing we noticed as we walked in was that the bar had been moved to create separate bar and restaurant sections. We both thought this was great, but couldn't work out how this somehow made the restaurant section seem bigger... go figure.
On arrival we were invited to take part in a cocktail making masterclass. In truth I had mixed feelings, as someone who hasn't had an alcoholic drink for about 2 years. However, this was a great experience for me. There was no pressure to be involved and I was, for the first time really able to just try a drink without pressuring myself to have a whole one. After a taste I gave Colin my drink, he said it was quite strong, hahahaha. Being able to just taste something and it being part of an activity was great for me, some definite personal growth! It wasn't me 'seeing if I could have a drink', it was more just taking part in a fun activity. So, I personally, took a lot more from the evening than I expected.
This doesn't mean I am about to go out 'drinking', but maybe, just maybe, I could try a cider or cocktail mixed in with my cokes and lemonades in the future.
We both really enjoyed the food, it was lovely! Very filling, especially the dessert.
Guacamole isn't something I would usually have or like, but I may need to rethink that. It was way nicer than I was expecting. Although it could a case of only at Las Iguanas...
The presentation of the food too is well done. I even made sure to take a flat lay of my churros.
The staff were super friendly and very welcoming. It felt more relaxed, like being at a buddies house rather than being at a restaurant, which I loved.
There was one thing that got to both me and Colin (especially him as an electrician, find him at www.cceelectrical.com) and that was the lights flickering. We asked the waitress about this and she said she would talk to the Manager. Even then, we ended up talking about the free halloween makeup (provided by Cosmo Box) and glitter. Do you see how even our enquiry was received and dealt with in a friendly and relaxed way? Great customer service! Hopefully the lights can be sorted as that was the only negative thing about our evening.
Im annoyed now though, because I can't remember the name of our waitress... you were great!
Unfortunately I didn't manage to get a photo of the Samba Dancers that added colour and entertainment to the evening, I was way too busy enjoying my food and mocktails. But they were there, helping to create a fun vibe. If you visit Las Iguanas on Facebook you can see more images and video from the night.
Both Myself and Colin had a great evening. I would happily arrange future mate dates there and go back for dinner.
The food was great!
For me personally, I really appreciated the cocktail masterclass, though maybe not for the original reason it was intended. While it was fun to see and make them (most of you would love that bit), I took a lot from being able to taste some alcohol without 'drinking' as such. Its was a good experience for me mental health wise.
Depending what you are ordering theres some good prices in the menu to look out for:
Lunch from £7.50
Tapas time, share 3 dishes for £15.95 or 5 dishes for £25.95 (from 7pm every day and all day Sunday & Monday)
Happy Hour Cocktails at 2 for 1 (avaliable all day, every day)
For me, its mainly the atmosphere that Las Iguanas has. Its friendly, welcoming, fun and colourful.