Food review: Traditional parrilla at Argentina Grill Dubai
It’s time to give a South American asado powerhouse its dues once more
Arriving at an Argentinian restaurant and not ordering a steak would be akin to entering a British tea house and turning your nose up at the scones. The South American nation is famous the world over for its parrilla (grill) mastery, which perhaps goes someway to explaining this restaurant’s less than nuanced name. But, hey, who needs subtlety when you can boast a cut of meat that’ll have you dreaming of your next visit before you’ve even cleared your plate?
There are two Argentina Grill outlets in Dubai: one situated at La Mer, the other at The Pointe. From the similarly themed locations you can probably deduce the establishments’ atmospheres and price points without extensive elaboration. They’re vibrant, fun and whilst not inexpensive, a good night out won’t be prohibitively costly unlike some of the five-star hotels offering much the same fare. It was a busy Thursday evening when we ventured to The Palm’s incarnation and were led to a lovely little table by the window. In the cooler months a terrace perch overlooking the fountain show would have been essential, but given it remains close to 40 degrees in the dark, we were content to soak up the scent of the kitchen and dining room vibes. The menu, whilst not expansive, covers most core recipes inspired by the cooking made famous by the Portenos of Buenos Aires and rural Patagonians.
We often find the simpler the ingredients, the better the dish and our first starter doesn’t come any more straight-forward. The Argentina Grande is a selection of cold cured meat, toasted bread and olives. You’d think a ‘sudamericano’ culinary adventure would require greater imagination, at least at the beginning, though the sub-pastoral pleasures derived from picking away at a platter are sublime. Accompanying the charcuterie, how could we refuse authentic empanadas? Three expertly baked parcels filled with steak goodness and drenched in herb-rich chimichurri salsa could be a meal in themselves.
For the main event, as alluded to at the beginning, there was only one choice. We defy anyone at your table when you make your way down (dietary requirements permitting) to not order a hunk of Argentinian beef delicately kissed by the oven’s flames. According to the place mats we were given, this method of preparation results in the tenderloin possessing five times less fat. While this tidbit remains unverified, we can assure you the asado treatment seems to add five times more flavour. Melt-in-your-mouth, full-bodied brilliance was the verdict when judging the lean Picanha slab. Sweet potato fries and beetroot on the side only enhanced the enjoyment. Picking churros and dulce de leche for dessert (again, is there any other option worth considering?), Argentina Grill receives a huge ‘muchos gracias’ from us.
Where: Argentina Grill, The Pointe
Best Dish: Steak... obvs
Av. Cost pp: Dh350