If there’s one thing I hated about doing Veganuary at the beginning of the year, it was feeling like that awkward so-and-so every time I ate out. I had to ask a lot of questions in restaurants to make sure what I was ordering definitely was vegan-friendly, and that kind of thing often elicits eye-rolls from others, not to mention putting any less-than-excellent waiters and waitresses on the spot. I’m just not the type of person who enjoys being a pain in the ass.
Imagine my joy at arriving at Las Iguanas on Mill Lane recently, and upon being greeted by the staff, asked immediately if I had any dietary requirements. Regular readers will know I’m not a veggie, but I quite often plan to skip meat from my mealtimes, and this was one of those days.Voila! I was presented with an entirely separate menu, catering specifically for veggies, vegans and gluten-free bods. It was expansive too, with plenty of options – more than I have seen at any other restaurant. I felt like I had the same amount of choice as everyone else in the room – a feeling quite alien to me after becoming so used to scanning a menu for a couple of appropriate dishes. I ordered the loaded nachos to start – they arrived hot and crispy with a generous topping of grilled onions, salsa, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole – so no, I didn’t opt to eat vegan this time! My main dish – a chunky mushroom enchilada served with refried beans and spicy rice was so meaty and moreish – even my other half (who had actual meat – a chicken dish) admitted that I’d out-ordered him. All washed down with a couple of Monday night 2-4-1 Caipirinhas, it really hit the spot. About 10 years ago, I used to eat at Las Iguanas a lot. I was 18 years old, and it was our favourite spot for crowd-pleasing food for a big group of girls – and they had plenty of cocktails on offer for before we hit the bars and clubs of Cardiff.
My tastes and attitudes towards food have changed a lot since then, and I wasn’t sure what I’d make of the chain more than a decade later – and two decades since they first opened on Mill Lane. It was a really nice surprise to find out that they’ve changed with the times,taken people’s individual dietary requirements seriously – and worked on a really great menu for everyone.
For that reason, to my own surprise, I am just as big a fan now as I was way back then. Well done, guys.