Tuesday 27 April 2010

Buen Ayre - London

If I were asked what would be my choice for my last meal on Earth (errr…. as I recently was by Qype – see here). My answer would be, a really good medium rare steak, charred on the outside, beautifully soft and bloody on the inside, with perfectly crisp, salty frites on the side and a ridiculous amount of thick, tarragon heavy Béarnaise sauce for dipping. It’s without a doubt my favourite meal. Although to be honest, I don’t get to eat it that often. Good steak is expensive and knowing my own voracious capability for consuming copious amounts of the distinctly unhealthy yet, totally essential béarnaise sauce. I try and limit myself to eating it as a treat every now and again.

Luckily for me, Sunday lunch was treat time, and you can imagine my excitement as I wound my way from Bethnal Green tube to Broadway Market in Hackney and the rather fabulous Argentinean ‘Parilla’, Buen Ayre. Specialising in grilled steak and meat, rampant carnivores would do well to make the pilgrimage to eat here.

The rather unassuming frontage belies what lies behind, and my eyes were instantly drawn to the fantastic, rather rustic looking charcoal grill behind the counter where a chef was nonchalantly cooking beautiful huge steaks

Ordering some Argentinean Quilmes beer (I’d never tried the brand before, it was pretty good), and some red wine, as a group (Seven us were eating, 6 meat eaters and 1 poor misguided veggie), we tried to work our way through the menu, deciding what exactly to order.

Older Buen Ayre hands among us insisted that, the ‘Parrillada Deluxe’ was the way to go. Consisting of a Brazier placed on the table loaded with 14oz of Argentine Sirloin steak, 11oz of Argentine Rib Eye, 2 ‘Argentine style pork sausages’, black pudding and provolone cheese. This selection was for a minimum of 2 people and priced at £23 each. We ordered two of these for six people to share with a selection of salads and chips on the side.

In the meantime, whilst our food was cooked on the incredible looking grill two metres from our table, some bread and Stilton butter was placed on the table. The bread was ok, nothing special - but in conjunction with the Sirloin butter it was bloody delicious, and I couldn’t get enough of it, inspired.

Two smoking braziers were deposited on the table, heaped with some impressively large pieces of steak – (the piece of Rib eye in particular was gargantuan), the sausages, the black pudding and a slowly melting slab of provolone cheese.
Sides of chips with garlic and parsley quickly followed, along with pots of chimicurri dipping sauce (recipe here).

The table fell upon the braziers like a hoard of vultures; steak and sausages were cut into slices for sharing. (As specified, the steaks were cooked exactly medium rare), and plates around the table were soon heaped with food. The Argentinean steaks are bloody delicious, really very good, superbly cooked, the crisp charred exteriors giving way to moist bloody goodness when sliced into.

The chips…well…not too fat, not too thin – perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy and soft in the middle…they were seriously good. I’ve since found out that they’re bought in – which is surprising, considering how good they were, and leaves me wondering... what the hell do I know?

Anyone who doubted that the two Parillada Deluxe, shared amongst the 6 meat eaters at the table might not be enough to assuage appetites would be happy to note that even the most ardent carnivores were beginning to slacken the pace…in fact, even I was struggling and I’m a greedy bastard of some considerable renown. To underline this fact, once the plates were cleared the whole table declined dessert, and opted for the bill, which considering the quality and quantity of the food we’d just consumed was incredibly inexpensive.

If you like steaks, I can’t recommend Buen Ayre enough. Avoid the footballers wives style bling and naffness of Gaucho Grill. Buen Ayre is where you should be headed for Argentinean steaks.

Buen Ayre
50 Broadway Market
E8 4QJ

Telephone: 020 7275 9900



Food Urchin said...

It's been a while since I've been to Buen Ayre but I was also very impressed, that parrillada is something else eh?

Glad to hear that I'm not the only greedy bastard to have struggled in there!


PDH said...

This looks great, not sure about this sharing lark. I'd love to try seeing off one of those platters to myself.

Fernandez & Leluu said...

I love this place - always reserved for treats. Very good food here : )

Unknown said...

I think my husband would LOVE this place - Argentina is his favourite country int eh world and it looks great. Must go there.

Petra Barran said...

Nice post Dan - glad you enjoyed. Nothing quite like a raised platform of sizzling hunks of meat to share on a table, hey? And what did you think of the morcilla? It's the best I've ever had. X

Kavey said...

Must go! Loved eating steak in Buenos Aires but 16 hours is a looong flight... this might help assuage my Argentinian beef lust for a bit!

Tom said...

Too true - it's a great place and I haven't been for far far too long.

Dan said...

Food Urchin - Had no idea you'd been and written it up on your blog. Must have missed that post.

Paul - They're bigger than they look, but hell - next time your in London, give it a try and let me know how you get on :)

Fernandez & Leluu - so lucky living nearby, I'm very jealous.

GC - If you visit, would love to know what you think of it.

Chocstar - Thanks a lot Petra, was superb - loved it and lovedthe Morcilla - forget to mention it in the post, agree entirely - also the best I've had x

Kavey - Next best thing, you should def give this place a visit Kavey

Tom - It is a great place, and seems like everyones been here but me!

Unknown said...

I've heard so much good stuff about this place, and now this great write-up, that I'm just going to have to get my jabs, get my visa, hire that bodyguard and make the trip to Hackney.

As a fellow steak lover Dan (it would probably me my last meal too) I wish I had your restraint and could say that I also 'limit myself to eating it as a treat every now and again'!

Mr Noodles said...

I almost feel sorry for the poor veggie in your group. This sounds like the worse place for them with the aroma of grilled steak, sausages and black pud hanging in the air. I say "almost" as unless it's a religous or medical thing, I think they're fools for being veggies.

Anonymous said...

Me want steak. Me want steak. Me want steak.

Thanks for bringing this into my life.

Dan said...

Hugh - hahaha well worth getting your jabs and getting to Hackney. If you've never been to Broadway Market on a Saturday - well worth doing that too. It's superb, almost like Borough before it got rammed full of tourists.

Mr Noodles - ha! I almost felt sorry for her too, but not too much.

Feedetgastro - No problemo!!!

tasteofbeirut said...

well next time I am in London...actually my last meal would be steak/frites too, no bearnaise, but chocolate mousse at the end; oh and champagne to drink.

gastrogeek said...

Love this place! Gorgeous photos too

Merlotti said...

Glad you liked it - that was my place for dinner in my Qype interview too - how strange! The sausages there are just scrummy!

Luiz Hara said...

Great write up Dan - love this place too, I reviewed it last year, you made me want to go back there now. I had the parrillada Al Paso last time I went which is a mixture of different cuts including flank, it was even more generous than the deluxe (cheaper cuts but equally delicious), this is the link to my review http://www.thelondonfoodie.co.uk/2009/09/london-restaurant-reviews-buen-ayre.html

Helen said...

Now I need steak. Thanks Dan ;) It certainly looks good and I love that garlic and parsley thing they do with the chips.

foodrambler said...

God, I haven't had a steak in ages and that sounds like a really good place to break my steak fast. I went to Argentina a few years ago and ate steak twice a day for 10 days. I think it's addictive.

Grumbling Gourmet said...

Sold! Having just got back from a very meaty trip to NYC it's going to be a while (well, at least a couple of days) before I can cope with that much meat...

That being said, it's going on the list for my next trip that way! Thanks for the review

Dan said...

Taste of Beirut - I applaud your good taste!

Rej - Hey thanks :)

Merlotti - You mentioned Buen Ayre in your Qyper interview? Im going to have to go back and re-read it.

Helen - Hahaha Im looking at it and need steak too...and agree, garlic and parsely on chips is for winners.

FoodRambler - Ooooh bet it doesnt compare to what you can get in Argentina, but hey would love to know what you think of it.

Grumbling Gourmet - NYC very envious, but again would love to know what you think of Buen Ayre if you visit.

The London Foodie - Thanks for the link and the information, that sounds bloody superb...Im going to have to go back and try that now.

Matthew said...

"but in conjunction with the Sirloin butter it was bloody delicious." Heh. Freudian slip.

The Cow Club Council said...

We are heading to Buen Ayre next week and having just read your review I have high expectations!

GLCFoodie said...

Buen Ayre is nice antidote to the more populous and well-heeled steak restaurants that have exploded over London over the past decade. Its Hackney-home and its down-to-earth feel mean it is much more relaxed than a Gaucho. The food is comparable if not better, it’s cheaper and a good laugh London food blog