Thursday, June 16, 2016

Che Argentine Grill, Johannesburg

Happy Birthday to me...
I really want to try and eat a more healthy diet this year.
So what better way than to start off with THIS as a birthday "cake"?

My birthday selfie.
Not in a game reserve, but in our entrance hall 
with my "famous" elephant picture...
Bush time is coming soon.

So, the whole "healthy eating" lasted
until I found this slice of cheese cake on my desk.

My wife had planned a surprise birthday dinner for me.
Actually the dinner was not the surprise, the venue was.

After taking a rather round about route,
thanks to Google Maps,
we eventually arrived in down-town Johannesburg.
Usually we do not usually venture this far South,
but it was a special occasion
and my wife wanted it to be an experience.
Situated at 303 Fox Street, the Che Argentine Grill
is just one of several trendy eating establishments in the area.
After having done their time at a variety of local markets,
they opened these premises a year ago.
It was a rather chilly night in Johannesburg,
but thanks to a couple of these,
 the restaurant was toasty warm.

THIS is where we were going to have dinner...
Che Argentine Grill in Fox Street.

Rather interesting décor...
I wondered about the saddles
and then I remembered that horses play a large part 
in cattle ranching in Argentina.

Proper candles on all the tables
added to the ambience as well as the warmth.

There is a private dining area on a mezzanine floor.

Looking down on the seating area from the staircase.
I was informed by the director of the restaurant
that this space used to be a car show room.
We arrived early and were one of a handful of seated couples
However, by the time we left,
the restaurant was almost full...
with several tables being birthday celebrations.

The décor is a mixture of industrial and contemporary.
But given the space and the setting, it works. 

The heart of the dining room...

Where the "magic" happens...
I have to say that the meat that I enjoyed for dinner was done to perfection.
Just the right amount of char on the outside and pink on the inside.
The meat is cooked using salt,( a traditional Argentinian method)
and that adds to the flavour.
Interestingly, the aroma of the meat is more prevalent outside
thanks to the excellent extractor fan.
Makes your mouth water before you walk in.

Let the meal begin...
This was my wife's starter.
Marrow Bones with Garlic bread.
And what arrived was exactly as described on the menu.
My wife tucked in with relish and enjoyed each mouthful with gusto.
The garlic bread was not overly seasoned,
 adding to the flavour rather than overpowering the marrow.
Neither of us had ever seen bones THIS size before.
Or done in this manner.

My, more humble, starter...
It is called an Empanadas.
A home made pastry which comes stuffed 
with a variety of different fillings.
My choice?
Free-range chicken,onion,spices,green and red peppers.
It was my first and hopefully not the last.
In a way, I suppose it could be compared to a samoosa,
but only in general terms.
The filling was warm and very tasty without the after burn
that some of these types of fillings have.
It was a great way for me to start this "taste experience".

The meat is all grass fed and sourced from the Midlands of KZN.
The menu suggests that diners try the meat medium rare.
The meat dishes are exactly that...meat!
However there are a variety of side dishes,
from salads to vegetables, that are on offer.
(The Argentinians don't seem to be big on vegetables)
There is mild form of Chimmi Churri sauce on the tables.
You can request the stronger version if you should you wish to "be brave".
Mains for my wife...Lomo...a 250g Fillet steak.
The steak was as requested, medium rare,
and was tender and tasty. 
My wife chose a Mixta salad as her side.

My mains...
Ojo de Bife...Succulent 350g Rib Eye.
Done to perfection,
but , in retrospect,a little too much meat for me.
If I do have the option of ordering Rib Eye,
then I will do so...
I "discovered" it at a hotel in Zanzibar an, since then,
I have been lucky enough to try it at a variety of restaurants.
I have yet to be disappointed, and this occasion was no exception.
Not to charred on the outside, but with enough "crunch"
to separate it from this steaks that I have had at prior meals.
My side was Betata Asada- Roasted sweet potato coated in honey.
These were delicious...not too much honey
to overpower the natural sweetness
and the perfect dish to compliment my steak.

There is a dessert menu,
but given the fact that we had done mains AND starters,
we chose to save this for another visit
and ended of our meal with coffee.

Aside from dinner, the restaurant also offers 
a limited lunch menu from 12-4 daily.

And on the first Tuesday of every month they host 
an Argentinian Tango Night.
Live music is offered on the first Thursday every month.

To find out how to book, call 011 614 0264

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