The atmosphere set us up for a good night out. iS's decorations are Spanish without being kitsch. The driftwood horse sculpture that dominates the doorway projects a spirit of passion and movement, and the dramatic lighting inside is both intimate and enlivening. Good so far.
The range of tapas on offer was also good, a mixture of vegetarian and meaty, traditional and new. The lack of green vegetables was unsurprising for a Spanish menu. We ordered a mix, and when they came out they were acceptable. They were small in serving sizes, but this is pretty typical of tapas as served in Aussie 'tapas' restaurants – paying $15 for three meatballs is often par for the course. (I do have to ask, why three? Seriously, chefs, why?)
The sangria was... unfortunate. I've had bad sangria before. I've never had sangria which tasted like cordial at a kids' party before I went to iS. The bartender took the opportunity to fill our jug up with ice, but this is often standard practice in bars. What was worse was that the sangria was so bad that we didn't really mind the ice. It tasted watery, syrupy and about as unlike a Spanish wine punch that it could taste while still resembling sangria.
In all, iS was a disappointing night out. We ended up wishing that we'd taken a chance on one of the other places open, or at least gone for the more boring but possibly more reliable items on the menu. For summertime sippers, resist the temptation of the sangria, don't expect more than typical tapas when ordering tapas, and iS has potential.