De La Panza, Argentian Bodegon

We were invited to a parillada masterclass at this neighbourhood restaurant. First a cookery masterclass with lovely head chef Ernesto followed by the main event, the parillada itself. It is a mixed grill featuring different cuts of steak matched with Argentinian wines. Steak and red wine, how could I resist!
This restaurant is very in the hood, you would never just stumble across it if you didn’t know it was there. It was lashing down with rain the night we went and I cursed the fact that it wasn’t a closer walk from the overground. I was to have this same thought in a slightly hazier fashion at the end of the night! However, the warmth of the welcome and the glass of Vinot Organica cheered me up swiftly and I was soon to dry out as we were taken into the kitchen near the vast Josper grill.
But first Ernesto talked us through the various cuts of meat, some of which were very familiar to me such as Ancho (rib eye), Lomo (fillet) and Chorizo (sirloin) and some less so such as Picana ( rump cap).
Ernesto gave lots of helpful tips such as butterflying a rump steak across the grain helps to soften the meat and make it less chewy. Their steak is all sourced from Argentina (of course!) and their cattle is grass fed on the pampas in the balmy climate all of which contribute to the flavour of the meat. Rib eye is the most fatty but also one of the most flavourful of the cuts and need to be cooked at least medium rare to allow the fat to melt.

We then left the kitchen to enjoy our starters, spicy beef empanadas paired with Malbec, which I absolutely loved, like the ultimate pimped up version of a Cornish pasty. I wasn’t quite so keen on the second starter of morcilla, a blood pudding sausage with what was to me an offputtingly squishy texture. However, Jason loved this so each to their own. This was served with a Pinot Noir. A Syrah accompanied the chorizo and roasted romero pepper with chimichurri sauce, a traditional sauce that was also served as an accompaniment to the steak.

All these were mere bagatelles though compared to what was coming next, the steak. And then it just kept on coming, cut after cut. De La Panza wet age their steak for 35 days. For me the steak slightly lacked the depth of flavour that you get from dry ageing. My favourite cut of the night was the last one, the picana. Sliced very thinly and left uncooked on one side, even though I was stuffed I wolfed it down.

We were too replete to consider dessert and finished with a glass of delicious dessert wine, called Malamado, a port style Malbec.

<a title=”Read Square Meal’s review of De La Panza” target=”_top” href=”http://www.squaremeal.co.uk/restaurants/london/view/107132/De_La_Panza?utm_source=Blog&amp;utm_medium=Blog&amp;utm_campaign=Link”><img width=”230″ height=”125″ src=”http://www.squaremeal.co.uk/restaurants/107132/get-blog-review/image/large.png&#8221; alt=”Square Meal” /></a>

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About goantolondon

International food and travel blog by London based British Goan duo: Jason and Chiara Pinto. Twitter: @goantolondon @jasonpinto100 @chiarapinto About Goa: Goa is a small state on the western coast of India. Though the smallest Indian state, Goa has played an influential role in Indian history. Goa was one of the major trade centers in India, thus it had always been attracting the influential dynasties, seafarers, merchants, traders, monks and missionaries since its earliest known history. Throughout its history Goa has undergone continual transformation, leaving an indelible impression on various aspects of its cultural and socio-economic development. History of Goa: The East-West symbiosis of Goa makes it different from other parts of India, more than the historical and social niche. The history of Goa is a sweet and sour story of colonial heritage, oppressive rulers, a glorious culture, and uneventful immediate past. As a land with the identity of its own, Goa was brought into focus when it was liberated of Portugal from its oppressive rule of around 450 hundred years in 1961. Goa was captured and annexed to the Portuguese in 1510 following the urges of trade and demand of spices and also cottons and indigo. But, Goa has a history that starts much before Portugal even thought of Goa being where it is. Goa was coveted and ruled by a great number of Indian kingdoms and dynasties from the 4th century onwards. The first kingdom to rule Goa and Konkan were Bhojas, who were the feudatories of Ashoka in 4th and 5th centuries AD. The city of Chandrapur (present Chandor) was founded by Prince Chandraditya, son of Chalukya King Pulakesin from 566 to 597 A.D. after this, Goa was ruled consecutively by Silahara Dynasty, Kadamba Danasty, and finally Hoysalas from 1022 to 1342 A.D. From the 14th century onwards, Goa became a great trading center on the west coast, especially in the vast trade of horses imported from the Middle East. This was the time for bigger empires to move in and Vijayanagar Empire conquered it in 1344. But there empire was not going to last too long and in 1347, Bahmani Sultans defeated Vijayanagara forces in 1347 and controlled Goa. Afterwards, it was a time of great prosperity and peace for Gpa, especially during the rules of Yusuf Adil Shah and Ismail Adil Shah. They created beautiful houses, fortified Goa, and encouraged local craftsmen. Their liberal and progressive rule was not going to last too long and situation changed in 1510 A.D. Goa for all purposes was not on the Portuguese Radar even after a long time of their presence in India. When the Portuguese nobleman Alfonso de Albuquerque and his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque were sent with a powerful fleet in 1503 on the orders of King Dom Manuel I, the purpose was to defend the cargoes of spices, mostly pepper, against Arab Muslim raiders. The center of spice trade was Calicut at that time and Portuguese had built forts in Cochin and Cannanore. It was in 1506-08 that an opportunistic pirate, Timoja, persuaded Albuquerque to attack Goa and acquire a better land base. This made Goa, Portugal's first real territorial acquisition in Asia. After a brief period of recapturing by the Muslims, Goa Albuquerque finally captured Goa in 1510. The inquisition of Goa in 1540 reversed the previous liberal policy of Albuquerque and imposed strict censorship of literature and new laws to forbade non-Christians from professions. Forced conversions took place continuously, censorship was established on literature, the temples were destroyed, and non-Christian priests, holy men, and teachers were evicted. This led to continuous fleeing of Hindus from Goa to other parts of India. It is not that the relationship with Portugal brought only destruction for the Goans. Portuguese also built great churches like the church of St. Cajetan and Bom Jesus basilica in Old Goa, which is a pilgrimage site for the Christians from around the world. But it is also true that pre-1961; Goa was a highly impoverished region very backward and primitive. It is after the liberation that Goa of today has emerged and it has surprised even the locals many of whom had left their homeland before its liberation. Portugal and India are today friends and Goa continues to be a fascinating blend of Latin and Oriental. Information sourced from: http://www.royalorienttrain.com/goa/goa-history.html
This entry was posted in Argentinian, Global inspirations, Parrillada Masterclass, Square Meal - blogger reviews, steak, Style of cooking and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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