Argentina is a country besotted with it’s beef, apparently they eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner – relentlessly. So by default, there is a climate of trust when it comes to an Argentinian steak restaurant, intuition should tell you that they should know how cook their beef. And after a steak lunch with Hixster Bankside, I have a fresh idea of what a good steak should taste like – so Buenos Aires Wimbledon you’re under scrutiny! If you care to know Buenos Aires is a group of restaurants named after the capital city of Argentina, they have branches in Richmond, Horsham, Reigate, Wimbledon and Chiswick. Sorry for those travelling from north of the river, you can always go the Gaucho or Hixter Bankside.
Calamari fritti £6.95 were soft squid rings with crisp but very greasy lacy batter. I couldn’t squeeze enough lemon on it to cut through the oil, it just needs hotter temperature for a less greasy outcome.
When I saw morcilla £4.95 on the menu, I had to get it. My love of the stuff started when I kept ordering it at Barrafina. This Latin blood sausage has the colour of a deep Burgundy red, it’s mildly spiced, salty, fatty and pleasantly chewy all at the same time. Hunks of fat glisten before they pop between the teeth. I love the stuff. There is a side of salsa criolla full of spritely vinegar, sweet peppers and onions.
Empanadas £6.50 were semi pleated half moon shaped fried snacks. The sort snack that any cardiologist would eye-roll at you for eating it. Inside the hot greasy yet crispy pastry were pleasing chunks of protein that my palate registered as beef – just. It was joined by a sweet stew of peppers.
Onto the ancho or ribeye, this is the 220g version, forgive me for ordering the teeny one but I was already packed to the hilt with the porter house from Hixster earlier that afternoon. What I got was a really tender piece of steak, full of carbonic sear. Ok so it didn’t have that jolt of dry aged beefiness like in Hixster, but what I got was something ripe and full of juice, cooked mid-rare to a eye catching brown hue. Mineral notes and smokiness from the charcoal lingered on the palate.
The salad it came with looked like an afterthought of shop bought ready made stuff, and with it’s gloopy honey-mustard dressing, it tasted like it too. They were doing so well with the steak, but on the bright side I’d rather them fail on the vegetables than the protein!
The sweet potato fries they also came with were a triumph too.
When did I go? Sept 2017
The damage: Expect to pay £25/30 per head without booze
The good: What they do good here and thankfully taste like an act of devotion to the cause is the steak. Everything else is missable.
The bad: It’s not a place for big moments
Would I go again? Yeah why not
Address: 62 Wimbledon Hill Rd, Wimbledon, London SW19 7PA