We have a dear Argentinian friend who has never dragged us to an Argentine restaurant so, after visiting La Patagonia, we have come to the conclusion that she has wanted to keep this delicious cuisine to herself!
We naturally are huge fans of Argentine Malbec wines, and had heard that the steak is some of the best in the world, so during an Autumn downpour that saw us held-up under the shelter of a local tube station awning till it eased, we made a dash through the doors of La Patagonia and straight away were greeted by the welcoming aromas of the restaurant, and of course the friendly smiles of the staff.
A glass of Malbec Tinto in hand we eyed all the tables around us to see what the food looked like, and noticed virtually every table had a sizzling sharing grill packed with different meats (the steak knives already set on the table should have been a clue). Asking our waiter what it was, he directed us to the Parrillada Pampa for 2 (a mixed grill of beef ribs, beef skirt, chorizo, black pudding and bondiola pork shoulder). The couple next to us nodded with full mouths suggesting we definitely order it (Drew was just staring with disbelief at what had to be “a heart attack on a grill” – his words), but with a little convincing Drew caved in and decided to give it a go. We also included the optional extra of Provolone cheese, Drews only condition being the inclusion of a side salad (done)!
The starters and sides menu listed a great selection that we also wanted to try, but knowing how big the main was we decided on sharing some traditional stuffed lightly fried Empanada pastries. We ordered one of the Beef (mince, hard boiled eggs, green olives and raisins), Chicken (with spring onions and green peppers) and Spinach (with a béchamel sauce and cheese). A perfect tasty starter and all too good to pick a favourite.
The grill arrived, sizzling away, packed to the brim with meats and cheese (we had substituted the black pudding with the waiters recommendation of a second chorizo, a spicy one). There wasn’t one piece of each cut to share between the two of us, we infact had our own cuts! The grill was served with some delicious side sauces along with Drews Ensalada Criolla (lettuce, tomato, onion and sesame seed salad) and a portion of Fritas Provenzal (fries with garlic and parsley) that had been ordered. What a main…huge and tasty, the sizzling cheese had so much flavour, but it all worked perfectly together. Just for a comparison in the photo, the sausage was about 6 inches long, so don’t be fooled by sizing! We couldn’t finish all the meat, but that may have had something to do with having earlier decided to try a dessert.
The reason dessert had been considered so early in the evening was due to Drew spotting Dulce de leche. This wonderful South American rich caramel flavoured dessert is another Elldrew fav. We somehow managed to finished off a Flan Casero (homemade cream caramel with Dulce de leche) and Tiramisu la Patagonia (tiramisu with melted chocolate), before rolling out onto the London streets and agreeing a walk home was our penance for such overindulgence.
Our verdict? Great restaurant and great food (don’t wear your favourite shirt or top as you will get sizzling fat over you as your carve from the grill) and we think this restaurant would be a great place to enjoy with a group of friends…love the theatre of presenting the grill at the table, but we would recommend getting one mixed grill plus some of the other delicious sounding dishes to share amongst four (or maybe we are being greedy and just want to try everything?). We can see why La Patagonia has not only won the Toptable Diner’s Choice 2014 Award, but also the Latin-UK (The LUKAS) Best Argentine Restaurant of the Year 2014 Award.
31 Camden High Street, London NW1 7JE