30 November 2009
My girlfriend had been many times to this Blackheath independent restaurant, and I looked forward to my first visit! I had phoned up in advance to book, and that was needed as the establishment was full to the brim!
We were greeted by the smiling owner. The large spherical wine glasses give you a clue that red wine is an important part of this eatery, so we ordered a Malbec, and lovely it was too. Before the wine came however, the lady serving us, had brought us a carafe of iced water, without even asking, and as I drink lots of water, that was a good mark for me!
We each ordered an Empanada – a filled pastry starter, with either beef or spinach. They look alot like Cornish Pasties in fact, a reflection of the great immigrant influence in Argentina. They were lovely, and the pastry fresh, but I thought the presentation was a little sparse, with only a parsley garnish on top, surrounded by empty plate. Perhaps a pretty little side salad would have improved it.
For main courses, my girlfriend and I both ordered pizzas, and as a vegetarian, these were welcome options. They were huge, and crispy! Mine was lovely, although smothered in garlic, but being half French, that wasn’t a problem for me. It was so big, I perhaps overdid myself in eating the whole thing while my partner ate sensibly and then had hers boxed! Great idea. I love that you can do that in America, but I seldom see it here, except at this Blackheath Argentinean! My friends had selections from Carne, and thoroughly enjoyed them. I have to say, I did take to smothering the Chimichanga sauce on my pizza. Yum!
Now for dessert, we wanted Alfajores Havana which my girlfriend knew were lovely. Little stuffed biscuits filled with Dulce de lece, a decadent caramel sauce. They had run out, so instead we had Flan Con Crema y dulce de lece. I'm not normally sweet toothed, but the Dulce de lece was amazing, like sweet gooey heaven. Terrific. You can buy it in the shop in pretty blue jars, I must invest some time!
The service was very good, friendly and warm as Id hoped, and the owner was greeting customers, and almost embracing those who had finished their meal, a good sign in my book. There was a great atmosphere, the service was cheerful and efficient and the music, selected by the owner was fun, with the odd Tango being played! In the basement is a little bar, and I'd love to have a glass or two of Malbec there one time!
As we left, my friend and I, being budding photographers were eager to discuss the wall decorations. The photos on the left of the restaurant are his. The owner was happy to chat about his work, and was a mine of information about his country! One shot on the right, shows perfectly the immigrant nature of Argentina. A black and white image from an immigration processing centre, much like Ellis Island, New York, depicts different nationalities awaiting processing in a large hall. The facial features, the hats, the clothes all give clues to their origins… and clues to the varied nature of the cuisine of Argentina! I recommend this restaurant, and will be visiting again.