Ants’ brother Guy has joined us in BA for our last week to help ease the pain of our departure from this incredible city on Friday. All up we’ve spent four wonderful months here and have really fallen for this ‘Paris of the South’, its charming friendly people, its eclectic impressive architecture, its seductive music, rich culture and then there’s the food and wine.
I’ve mentioned before how incredibly cheap eating out is here, and not just any roadside café, no, these are swanky upmarket restaurants with bow-tied, suited waiters. Almost always these restaurants are a parrilla with open flame grills constantly ablaze and stacked with giant sizzling steaks – so hard to resist despite being handed an extensive menu that sets your mouth watering.
So with Guy eager to see what all the fuss is about (I mean, Argentina is famous for its steaks, right? And its fortune has largely been secured off the backs of its cattle) we headed over to the Gran Parrilla del Plata for our 450g Ojo de Bife (Rib Eye Fillet). Cooked to perfection of course and served with lashings of fresh chimichurri, an Argentine staple sauce that’s made of freshly chopped parsley and oregano, coriander (cilantro here), some snipped chili (if you’re lucky), minced garlic, olive oil and red wine vinegar.
With one Ojo de Bife tucked under our belts and another day dawned, we headed directly to our next port of call Palermo and one of our favourite lunchtime haunts, the appropriately named La Hormiga (The Ant). I wasn’t going to have the steak again, I swear, but when Guy ordered his and I could see the open parrilla aflame, I couldn’t resist, so we both ordered the Gran Bife de Lomo (see photo) offering not only a delicious cooked-to-perfection tenderloin served on a wooden platter but also accompaniments of French fries (obligatory), a large grilled onion, a fried egg, a slab of grilled mortadella cheese, flame-grilled juicy red pepper, pumpkin puree and a sprinkle of rice – washed down of course by a pinguino or two of Malbec.
Ok, so here’s what it cost.
450g Ojo de Bife 650 pesos (for the steak) AUD$21 £11 (at the more traditional Gran Parrilla del Plata – favoured by business folk)
Gran Bife de Lomo 459 pesos (for the lot) AUD$15 £8.31 (at the trendy and always packed La Hormiga)
Bottle / Pinguino of Malbec AUD$6 £3.20
We’re nipping across to Colonia in Uruguay for lunch on Tuesday (perhaps we’ll have something different to eat), seeing off Guy back to the UK on Thursday and heading off ourselves to Sao Paulo in Brazil for a week before flying back to the UK for April. Ants has some meetings, a whole lot of time with Dad, and I have a family wedding to attend.