Monday, November 19, 2012

Review | San Telmo

To celebrate a special weekend I decided to take E out for dinner to a surprise location. After deliberating for weeks on where the perfect restaurant would be, I finally decided on San Telmo after doing some research (and salivating) on their traditional Argentine menu. Since every member of my family except for me have visited Argentina, and have schooled me on the ways of the cuisine, I feel like I knew a bit more about it than the average Joe, even though to be honest, that probably only true in my head.

After wandering through the somewhat enchanting restaurant to our table, I couldn't take my eyes off the great decor. There was leather and cow hide covering most of the surfaces, and a kind of rustic-chic theme in decorations, which I thought was really cool.

Our waiter that evening was very friendly and helpful, and explained everything on the menu for us. San Telmo is unique because they use the traditional 'Parrilla' grill for cooking. This grill is about two metres wide, and is an important part of the Argentinian national dish of 'Asado' - which is basically a barbecue of a wide range of meats and cuts. You will notice this grill as soon as you enter San Telmo, and the delicious flavours cooking over the grill float throughout the entire room. It was really impressive to see the team in the kitchen during our meal, as they seemed to operate seamlessly and perfectly. I was especially in awe of their seemingly silent communication - I have never seen such a quiet kitchen before! It looked like everyone must have been communicated telepathically - otherwise, they may be the next generation of Chef - quiet, calm, and freakishly organised.

Within minutes of sitting down, we were presented with two condiments - Chimichurri and Salsa. We had never tasted Chimichurri before - and it turns out we were missing out on amazing deliciousness. We tried it with everything during the night, and I told E countless times that I would make it for him (this is yet to happen, but I'm optimistic). While I am certain that we would have both been content with a bigger serving of the Chimichurri and some fresh bread, our food began to trickle out to the table. Everything is designed to be shared, which was perfect, since E and I love to share!

Chimichurri (left) and Salsa (right)

First up was the 'Chapa' - Flat bread with Olive oil, with Pickled Zucchini. This zucchini was so fresh and zingy! The flat bread was a tiny bit dry, but it was no drama, since we draped some of the delicate zucchini slices over it, and added with some of our new friend, Chimichurri, this was great!

Chapa - $4.00

The Chorizo came out right away too. I was so excited about tasting this, I was eyeing off the plate as soon as the chef placed it on the pass. This was the juiciest chorizo I have ever tasted. Delicious oils and goodness came oozing out of each slice as we pressed our forks into them. It was salty, but not too salty, and the smokey flavours from the Parrilla grill gave the sausage a great flavour.

Chorizo - $14.00

Next up were the empanadas! My level of excitement from the Chorizo grew, and I did a little dance in my seat as these treats were placed at our table. We ordered one of each kind - Beef, egg, and olive, and Provolone, mozzarella, basil and capsicum. The pastry around these little half moon shaped parcels was really good. I eagerly tried the Beef empanada, and nodded with great enthusiasm as I found that it tasted very similar to my own Beef empanadas! Out of the two, the beef empanada was my favourite. The cheese empanada was nice, but I found it to be a bit too salty for my liking.

Empanadas - $6.00 each

The main dish of the nice was brought out - a serving of Parrilla grilled Suckling Pig, that had been slow cooking all day. Please be sure that this is really not the best photo of the dish - in my excitement to get right into it, it seems I lost all sense of photo-taking! Whilst the meat was moisty and tender, both E and I felt that we had too many boney pieces in our dish, and not enough meaty goodness. The flavour of the meat however, was a delight.

Special of the Day - Suckling Pig

We chose to accompany the Suckling Pig with a side of Remolacha - a beetroot salad, which was great. It reminded me of my mum's cooking, since sometimes we have beetroot like this at home. The beetroot was served with a tasty white cheese called Queso Blanco (which was just like a cottage cheese) and with fresh parsley and cumin.  This was the perfect end to our main meals - the flavours were very calming and homely - and it was nice to end on a fresh salad.

Remolacha - $10

We then sat, digesting and contemplating our dinner, and also enjoying the great atmosphere of the restaurant. Having already made up my mind what we would be having for dessert, I then (politely) notified E and after a few restful minutes, we ordered! I had selected the Alfajor and the Flan. I have tasted a few Alfajores biscuit treats from my family's Argentinian travels, and I was keen to see and taste how San Telmo had recreated this treat. As for the Flan, well, you can't really have an Argentinian meal without some element of Dulce de Leche (it's a rule), so it was almost obligatory for me to do so.

Both of the desserts were great. the Alfajor biscuit was filled with a lovely almondy taste, and it was coated in a layer of desiccated coconut - these two additions to the traditional treat were definitely a pleasant surprise. I found the biscuit part of the Alfajor to be a teeny tiny bit on the dry side of things - perhaps it could be served with something on the side, maybe icecream- though I'm not sure how traditional that would be.

Alfajor - $5.00

The flan was so soft and silky. The bittersweet flavours reminded me again of home - my mum makes a great flan! This one however had the added greatness of being served with two more interesting textures - shards of crunchy salted peanut praline, and the rich, smooth and luscious dollop of Dulce de leche on top. On the border of being too sweet, this dessert was a highlight for me. This dessert is definitely recommended, and definitely to share!

Flan - $14.00

San Telmo on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had fun googling a lot of these dishes as they were foreign y
To me!!!