Interview: with Marcos Fernández Pardo, Managing Director Iberica Restaurant Marylebone
Q. Tell me a little bit about the origin of Iberica Restaurants?
Iberica Restaurants was born in 2008 in Great Portland Street. The project was founded by me as MD as Nacho Manzano, a chef from Asturias in Spain who holds a total of three Michelin starts and has his own collection of restaurants. We have focused on showcasing the spanish gastronomy in a sophisticated but informal setting, designed by one of the most reputable resigners in the world, Lazaro Rosa Violan.
Iberico has hosted all of the top chefs and top producers in the country and is considered an embassy to spanish gastronomy. Within these, in Marylebone we had one day alone over 40 Michelin Stars, as we hosted the after party of the 50 best.
Iberica has opened other restaurants in Leeds, Canary Wharf, Victoria and Farringdon.
Q. How have things changed with the pandemic and how have you adapted?
After the problems caused by cashflows and balance sheets where resolved, the real problem is always how can we keep on serving our customers safely. This is what we have focused on from before lockdown. It also took an interesting turn, not only we looked at what has to be done in the restaurants, but an exciting new avenue opened, how could we reach our customers at home.
In the restaurant:
Iberica started putting measures to tackle COVID as early as January 2020, introducing new cleaning schedules, changing our operating procedures, new training, etc. You could already see hand sanitisers in January 2020.
However, we also started from an advantageous position. Our restaurants have always been ample, There was already over a meter between tables, We had high ceilings, wide corridors and not only air-conditioning, but air renovation systems, which exchanged all the air in the restaurants over 15 times an hour.
After the first lock down we readjusted our restaurants to increase the space between tables, but did not loose many covers in the process. We did also apply to new outside seating which compensated. More stringent cross-contamination and hugeness measures where introduced, something which is easy as we have sophisticated training and administrative systems. We wore masks from June 2020 throughout all the time. We wanted to make sure our customers know we are specially safe.
An exciting new project was born from this pandemic, Iberica At Home.
We have successfully launched delivery services directly through our website and logistics partners, as well as in the main platforms, Deliveroo, supper, etc
We launched four distinct product lines.
1. Ready to eat delivery from our menu, which constantly evolves as the restaurant did, with its specials.
2. Pre-cooked finish at home special boxes.
3. Delicatessen and Wine store of our award winning producers. Our wine is delivered straight from our cellars in perfect state for consumption.
4. Zoom events with leading chefs and producers, following those that happen in our restaurants.
Q. What is your favourite dish?
My favourite dish is our croquettes, for which Nacho Manzano is renowned in Spain. They are hand made delicacies. We have also launched a home version of them which we deliver frozen with 6 flavours which are fantastic.
The Marylebone Association
229 Great Portland Street