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.
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