Argentina is renowned for its good meat and red wine, and whilst we are not in Argentina, you can find a good taste of the culture in the midst of south-east London, Greenwich, which is the location for the family-run business, Buenos Aires cafe.
Reinaldo Varga and his wife, Kate set up the restaurant in 2005, inspired by the many cafes and restaurants in Buenos Aires. From the outside peering in, the interior looks really cosy and inviting. Once through the door, customers step into the front café space. The restaurant at the back is a bit more spacious, set in the open brick walled orangery, it is a brighter area and very comfortable for dinner. Photos of tango dancers adorn the walls and the mellow waft of Latin American music encourages a relaxed atmosphere to talk culture with friends and family or enjoy a romantic meal with a loved one.
When you pick up the menu you see the following quotation:
“Argentines are Italians, who speak Spanish, live in French houses, and believe they are British.” Ernesto Sabato (Argentine Journalist)
This is echoed so much in one’s experience of eating in the café and the variety of food on offer. The menu is a meat-filled carb delight offering steaks, Argentinian sausage, pizzas, plates of pasta and puddings.
For Picadas [starters] we chose the Plato Mixto Caliente, a selection of classic Argentinian delicacies. The Chorizo Criollo is fragrantly steeped in Malbec, adding a warmth to the meat. The black pudding is smooth, smokey and moreish. The rest of the platter includes Spanish Empanada [my favourite pastry], Morcilla, Provoleta [fried cheese] and Corn on the Cob.
The chefs at Buenos Aires use a Jasper oven where most meat and fish is cooked over charcoal giving it a unique chargrilled taste. I selected the Bife Ancho Rib Eye, 200g, cooked medium, it oozed a smoky flavour. The Salsa Verde – fresh mint, parsley, oregano and salt sauce – complimented the meat perfectly.
My dining friends enjoyed the Milanese Buenos Aires, a speciality Argentinian dish. All mains are best served with additional sides, we chose chips, they came in buckets – I’d recommend one bucket for two people as we left a fair few.
To accompany the meal the team recommended the Aniello Malbec, a well bodied red, with hints of plum and leather, delicious.
Location and vibe
Buenos Aires Cafe is located just off the main Greenwich high street, a stone’s throw from the market and a short walk from Greenwich Maritime Museum.
The staff were very friendly and knowledgeable, and the generosity of spirit, not just with the food portions made us feel very welcome. We had a very enjoyable evening.
Buenos Aires, http://buenosairescafe.co.uk 020 8858 9172.
Open 10am – 10pm Monday to Thursday, 9am – 10pm Friday to Sunday
Cost, about £30 per head plus drinks and service.
Rosanna Head and friends were guests of Buenos Aires Cafe, Greenwich.