BOOM, boom, boom go the first dishes of our order onto the table - anywhere on the table. The waiter not having had the time to wait to find out who actually ordered what.

Then he’s gone. Turning and firing himself back into the thronging bank holiday Sunday crowd as we slide the plates to their rightful places. He did ask but when we took more than a millisecond to answer he clearly took an executive - and probably sensible - decision just to carpet bomb the plates across the table. Anywhere. Anyway.

To be fair to us, the service in here tonight is clearly - how do you say it in Latin America? - sloooow. And we ordered so long ago now nobody can instantly remember what.

We sit back to wait for the rest of the food to arrive. Which it will - eventually. As though a llama has been sent to Bogota to pick up the ingredients instead of just, say, opening the back of a freezer food van. Or one of those giant silver fridges we can see in the open kitchen down there.

Las Iguanas then? Er, so far not feeling the latin love. Though they’re clearly doing something right. It’s busy. Whereas when we passed Bill’s next door - yes another multi-uk chain - there was a poor waitress standing outside the front door holding out free food to tempt people in.

Eek. Is that what’s it come to in Glasgow? Frankly? It didn’t look very good. Frankly? Neither will much of our order in here. But no wonder many of these UK restaurant chains are shutting down and pulling out almost as fast as they moved in.

The starters anyway? We ordered five tapas dishes for a-not-exactly bargain price of £26.50, and end up with tacos that are simply two pale white circles of tortilla laid out flat on the plate with ingredients piled atop, virtually completely covering them.

They are the right buzz-word ingredients on paper anyway, but there are so many competing and in some cases processed-tasting flavours; smoky chipotle chicken, pink pickled onions, guacamole, pineapple cubes - it’s just a wet, messy, slippery not hugely satisfying experience.

Across the table the Dadinhos crispy cheesy cubes (apparently a Brazilian favourite) are just dry, hugely overcooked and borderline unpleasant while the gambas, in one of the usual-suspects ceramic dishes, are overpowered by the bitter lemon flavours in the garlic, lemon and chilli sauce.

Let’s pause here for a moment to say that Las Iguanas has some of the biggest, most complicated and most confusing menus I’ve ever seen. There’s a vegan/vegetarian menu, a gluten-free menu and then page after page of a sticky conventional menu with food laid out by Latin American country. Their website makes the usual hoo-ha about (some of) their sourcing but you’ve got to wonder who supplies the food for all these dishes.

Incidentally, Google also throws up stuff on how Las Iguanas historically dealt with staff tips. Worth a close read. Am pretty sure Carluccio’s which was across the road had a similarly, er, enlightened policy.

It certainly engenders some sympathy at this table for the people who work here and though the place feels a bit like a giant chain pub and the tables are not cleared fast enough tonight - it doesn’t feel there are enough staff on.

Mains then? We play it safe and order a burrito which arrives with the very average ingredients of rice, slaw, cheese and shredded beef, all weirdly a uniform brown colour and super-heated to a level where it is impossible to eat for a good while. This seems a bit strange if it has just been assembled.

Blazing Bird? Spice rubbed and marinated chicken - doesn’t look much of a spice rub and doesn’t taste even slightly marinated.

The rest of the food? Similarly forgettable. I’ll accept we’ve turned up when they’re very busy, I’ll accept that there’s an attempt to cater for every possible diner’s whim with the menus, but I can’t accept that even chains should be this disappointing.

Las Iguanas

6-20 West Nile Street


0141 248 5705

Opening hours: 10am til 11pm. Seven days

Menu: Bewildering arrays of menus including vegan, gluten-free and a full-fat, multi-paged tour of Latin America. Do big menus sometimes mean big freezers? 2

Service: Busy evening and staff seemed under siege, waitress was cool calm and collected, waiters more rushed, kitchen obviously struggling. Ask if they get their tips. 3

Atmosphere: Cross between a giant chain pub and a downmarket chain restaurant - not great. 2

Price: Not particularly cheap 3

Food: Despite its claims of Latin American excitement, the food was either pretty generic or downright awful. Burrito grim, chicken mediocre, cheesy things hopeless. 2