REVIEW: Las Iguanas, Grey Street, Newcastle

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This restaurant’s fiery Latin ethos managed to shine brightly through even the drizzliest of days, on the Toon’s Grey Street.

The chain aims to whisk its punters’ tastebuds to sunnier climes, with a fusion of Latin American Indian, Spanish, Portuguese and African-influenced dishes.

I’ve eaten at branches in the Big Smoke which attested to its quality, so I had foresight to book ahead for a Saturday afternoon slot at its only North East outpost.

Thank goodness we did, as there were only two tables left.

The interiors are all trendy, exposed features, statement lighting and industrial-chic fittings, but it all works to create a laid-back atmosphere.

With so much custom flooding through the doors, staff have to be on the ball and our waitress was swift and efficient.

We made our selection from the alliterative Tapas Time menu which offers five dishes to share for £24, which is available until 7pm every day, and all day Sunday and Monday.

The albondigas were a particular treat: mouth-watering, succulent lamb meat balls in a rich mint and chilli sauce, which gave the tender meat a real kick.

Those feeling the post-festive financial pinch (who isn’t?) should look out for the Happy Hour section of the drinks menu, which offers two-for-one on a selection of cocktails and pitchers from noon to 7.30pm, or all day Sunday to Wednesday.

Show-stopper the caipirinha (£6.20), which is like a Brazilian version of a mojito, was fresh, zingy and punchy.

So much so, it’s in danger of becoming my new top tipple.