You can understand why the group of City Lads getting politely turned away might have been confused – on the night we go to Iberica it’s halfway through something like its third week of soft-launch events. A couple of soft-launches is to be expected, but several weeks’ worth is very unusual. Restaurants have opened and gone out of business in less time than that. It’s also a long time for a restaurant to be operating while not making any money (though, credit where it’s due, it looks like The Joint has been doing just that for a while now) but looking around the venue, you get the impression that Iberica aren’t short of a few quid. This is no less evident than in the bathroom.
You’ve probably seen the bathroom by now – it’s gorgeous. Probably the finest bathroom in all the City. It could have been imported directly from a Dornish palace – if Dorne existed outside the mind of George RR Martin – all patterned tiles, mirrored ceilings and rose gold. There’s a 6ft wide stone sink in the middle that’s begging to be repurposed as a dolsot bowl for serving a world record-setting Bibimbap. There’s mirrors on the ceiling, mirrors on the doors, mirrors on the walls, mirrors in front of other mirrors. It’s a shrine to vanity itself. It’s destined to be the place to get a bathroom-selfie for the foreseeable future. People will flock here for that reason alone. Whether the food is any good or not is irrelevant. This has worked out favourably for Iberica, as the food we ate was, almost without exception, not good.
Iberica claims that it offers “the true taste of Spain” – if that was the case, I’d be campaigning for stricter border controls.