I’m not a big lover of red meat, so before I went to Argentina a few years ago, I had probably only eaten steak once or twice in my life. In Argentina I ate it for lunch, dinner and sometimes for breakfast too…
Who can argue that together with tango and Evita Peron, Argentinians are most famous for their steaks? They take this dish very seriously and I witnessed the laborious process of choosing the meat, roasting it for hours and then distributing by the patriarch of the family.
So imagine my joy when I heard that an Argentine restaurant was opening in London (not the first one of course, but one more is always welcome)! Casa Malevo in the Connaught Village promised to bring the essence of Argentine culture, food and wines, so I awaited the launch with big expectations.
Casa Malevo is the joint venture by Chef Diego Jacquet, who worked for elBulli in Spain and Aquavit in New York, and restaurateur Alberto Abbate, both from Argentina. We visited the restaurant the first day it opened, so there was a slight feeling of panic in the air – the manager was running around, waiters were sweating and the barman looked overwhelmed by requests.
The interior of Casa Malevo is cosy and charming with lovely and tasteful decorations that look like they were brought straight from Argentina (I hope) and that reminded me of the family house where I stayed in the province of Tucuman.
We had to wait for our table for quite some time and had no other choice but to sample some of the seven varieties of my favourite Malbec grape wines. Gouguenheim “Valle Escondido” 2008 was the cheapest at £6.00 for a glass and £22.50 for a bottle.
The nicest one was Septimo Dia 2007 at £29.50 per bottle. When slightly tipsy we finally sat at our table and we ordered Urano 2007 Eral Bravo (£25.50 per bottle).
I ordered chorizo on toast with grilled peppers, wild rocket and Chimichurri (green Argentine sauce) as a starter, which was followed, of course, by a sirloin steak (300gr/£19.50). My starter was good, but not excellent, the steak was fabulous and the dulce de leche crème brulee with ice cream was absolutely amazing.
Our taste buds might have been slightly numbed by all the Malbec we had, but Casa Malevo brought back the memories of Argentina and once again reminded me how much I want to go back to that great country. My wish was definitely strengthened by the horrible weather that greeted us leaving the restaurant on a cold and wet London night.
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