I’ve been to Legends Spanish Restaurant in Manuka a few times since I moved to Canberra in 2008 and it has never let me down. The first time I went was a romantic evening for two. He ordered the garlic and chilli prawn tapas to share and they were unforgettable. I had never had prawns that amazing in my life before and I don’t think I have since.
The restaurant has evolved over the years. It used to be upstairs, above a nightclub called Minque. Legends has now taken over and renovated the space that Minque used to occupy. I didn’t take any photos of the restaurant, but it now has a modern and vibrant interior.
Legends has always been a “special occasion” kind of restaurant for me. When my parents came down to Canberra, I took them to Legends. When Taiwanese visitors came to Canberra and they asked me where they should go for dinner, I suggested they go to Legends. Everyone I know, who has been, is always impressed by the quantity and quality of their banquets. A friend, C, who has heard me speak highly of this restaurant was keen to try it out and organized an outing, the subject of this review. It had been over a year since I had last visited, so I wondered if the quality of the food was as good as it used to be. I hoped so.
Naturally, we ordered a banquet. We chose the $40 banquet, which came with a selection of tapas to share and a paella for the main. Lucky for me, the garlic and chilli prawn tapas were on this banquet menu and I was keen to see if they were still as delicious as I remembered them to be. Unfortunately, the prawns lacked the intense flavour I remembered, but I’m not sure if that was because I had since built up the memory of them as better than they actually were…
Anyway, the rest of the tapas (potatoes, mushrooms and chorizo) were all excellent. The chorizo, in particular, was full of flavour and had just the right amount of spiciness (in my opinion).
At this stage, I have to mention the service. It was flawless that night. It was easy to catch the attention of the wait staff to order more drinks and delivery was prompt.
The main event, the paella (we picked the traditional one) was impressive when it arrived. It was topped with a variety of delicious-looking seafood such as crab, scampi, clams, mussels and prawns. The worst thing you can do with seafood is to overcook it, but I needn’t have worried because each piece of seafood was still tender and juicy – exactly how it should be. I did, however, notice that the mussels were quite shriveled up. But the scampi (oh my goodness) more than made up for the less than average-looking mussels.
The delicious meal was finished off with a glass of sangria (not included in the banquet). Some of my friends said that the drink had been heavily watered down and there wasn’t much red wine in it. But not having had real sangria before and not being a red wine expert, I thought it was quite nice and very easy to drink.
It was a huge relief that Legends was still up there in my list of “special occasions” restaurants. I was also glad that, given all my glowing recommendations, it delivered on quality of food (save for the mussels) and service that night. I can still say that Legends has never let me down!