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|Address:||8b Lamb’s Conduit Passage, London WC1R 4RG|
|Tel:||020 7430 9073|
|Price: £46.00||Wine: £18.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Fri 9am-3pm Mon-Sat 5-10.30pm|
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Short walk from Holborn station entering through a narrow door down the stairs lays a welcoming and intimately lit Argentinian restaurant. Greeted by the barman behind beautiful brick walls, we enter into the main dining room. Garufin is one of the most charming restaurants I’ve seen in London – black and white tiled floors, high ceilings and wooden tables. It felt like we were sitting in a stylish wine cellar which made sense looking at the extensive wine list.
Argentinian cuisine is well known for its quality cuts of steak. Garufin's list of regional small plates, “platitos”, seemed far more interesting in our eyes. The deciding factor probably came down to spotting monkfish. How could I choose steak over one of my favourite and rarely restaurant-featured fishes? Before getting all wrapped up in the fish, I gazed through the Argentinian wine menu where you can taste 25ml servings. I tried three as a mini wine tasting. I love this concept and as a baby in the wine world, evermore perfect for me to expose myself to some more grapes. I preferred Zuccardi Zeta, Malbec/Cab Sauv fromTempranillo 2009. A balanced and fruity glass of red with earthy hints of pepper and tobacco.
Humita & Cabra, fresh creamed sweet corn, sweet potato, goat cheese & basil oil was wonderful. The smooth texture was comforting and the bits of goat cheese paired superbly with the corn and sweet potato. Another delight was the Patagonia Empanada, scallops, spring onions & olives. Shaped like a rosebud this is the prettiest empanada I’ve seen. Well as pretty as an empanada can get that is. The crispy but light pastry worked well with the diced scallop filling and was not as heavy as a usual empanada.
Pulpo al “Aji”, octopus & king prawns “a la plancha” & “aji”, almond & bread sauce was another catch. The perfectly cooked seafood lay in a rich sauce with a lovely depthness. Nicely complimented by a side of Esparragos, char-grilled green asparagus with garlic and olive oil. The downfall however was the Rape & Yopara, grilled monkfish with mussel “yopara” & coriander as the fish was overcooked. Monkfish is a firm fish from the start so when cooked too long it becomes very tough, unfortunately. Wish I could have tried another platito instead from the tempting menu.
Highly recommend the beautiful cellar of Garufin showcasing a mix of regional Argentinian dishes. It was a pleasure trying the platitos as a change from the usual steak associated with Argentinian restaurants. Every dish looks and tastes as if the chef added a bit of personality and cared about each ingredient. Well minus the monkfish, but I can forgive and forget, as the rest of our evening was enjoyable. Good service, affordable and friendly atmosphere.