Food Review: David Muñoz at Iberica

By Jon Massey on October 12, 2012 2:28 PM |

David Muñoz at Iberica

Consistency and daring of a young master was certainly the most skilled cooking I've tasted in Canary Wharf.

It was billed as an exclusive event, this dinner held in celebration of Spain Now 2012, a festival aimed at raising the European country's profile in London.

After a brief drinks reception, we were introduced to the star of the evening - David Muñoz - holder of two Michelin stars at DiverXO in Madrid and dubbed "the most talented chef in Spain" by the master of ceremonies.

And that's a title with impressive connotations in a country boasting a disproportionate number of the world's best restaurants.

With buzzcut and punky earrings, Muñoz turned out to be a softly spoken Spaniard in his early 30s, gently wry as he welcomed us to Iberica. So what did this man produce and was it better than anything I'd tasted on the Wharf before?

■ Young coconut spicy soup, baby scallops, cockles and fresh white beans. Fritura DiverXO-style
Starting with a bang, Muñoz's opener appeared complex but dazzled with the clarity of its flavours. The soup sizzled with heat in its semi-edible coconut bowl, offset perfectly by crispy fish skeletons, prawn heads and a searing frog's leg.

■ Crispy oxtail sandwich with baby eel, jalapenos and finger lime
Presented atop a transparent plastic box, the oxtail overpowered the poor little eels squirming on top, leaving only a slim crunch of garnish.

■ Posticker shangai of pitu caleya with its own broth, sea urchin, chipotle chilli and shitake
This is Muñoz's signature dish. Hot on fusion, this perfectly married dim sum with some delicate Hispanic flavours.

■ Creamy black trumpet and milk skin bun, gazpacho emulsion, semi-dried tomatoes and kumquats
Fungal but light on the tongue. Consuming this dim sum dumpling revealed potent chilled delights beneath its heft.

■ Kimchi strawberries, sheep yoghurt and coffee. Baby squids over the flame
The worst dish served. Rumour has it Muñoz was unhappy with the berries available in London. While the squid was pleasant, the clash of accompanying acrid flavours did little for me.

■ Wood smoked tuna bonito belly, fried eggs, mujol roe and tamarillo ketchup
This simple, but sophisticated morsel of fish more than made up for the preceding bum note.

■ Wagyu beef, marinated tomato, herring condiment. Tamarind and peanuts
This surprising combination of ingredients soared above expectations and melted in the mouth. A sublime meaty texture, perfectly executed.

■ Wild boar civet of black cod. Parsnip and liquorice
In an impossibly dark mass of glossy blackness, the fish nevertheless managed to swim through.

■ Guava, rhubarb, pink pepper and butter. Black truffle
An exquisite finish, blessed with fresh, cool fruit flavours hewn from pinkish matter, including a delicate wrapped tongue of fruit to cleanse the taste buds.

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