67-69 Watling Street, City, EC4M 9DD
Tucked away in a quiet spot off Turnham Green Terrace, the smart but unpretentious Chiswick branch of Buenos Aires delivers on all fronts. The staff are charming and well informed, the decor is modern with a dash of the vintage, and the atmosphere distinguished yet relaxed. This is an ideal venue for steak lovers, but by no means exclusive to them - there's a wide range of cuisine, all of it prepared with flair. We began with a bowl of gigantic olives dipped in chimichurri - an olive oil dressing containing parsley, garlic, oregano and chilli. A fantastic array of small plates followed, from crispy lemon-infused sweetbreads and patatas bravas, to empanadas (traditional savoury pastries filled with meat, cheese or creamy sweetcorn) and provoleta Argentina - a starter of provolone cheese with slow-cooked tomato, often served as a precursor to steak. This leads me nicely to the main event. We ordered the steak sampler, comprising a 6oz serving of each of the restaurant's special steak cuts - cuadril (rump), ancho (rib-eye), chorizo (sirloin) and lomo (fillet). The waitress explained that while they offer sauces such as peppercorn and blue cheese for the sake of English diners, the Argentine way is to have them naked, or sometimes with chimichurri. Once we tasted ours, we understood why. Juicy, smoky and packed with flavour, these steaks simply don't require a sauce. In fact, the only necessary accessory to these gorgeous cuts of meat is a full-bodied glass of red from the restaurant's exclusively Argentine wine list, which includes a map of the wine valleys and an explanation of the characteristics of each growing region. The meal was rounded off with a rich and delicious dulce de leche cheesecake. I have no qualms in heartily recommending Buenos Aires' authentic Argentine cuisine.