Sunday, September 14, 2008

B. AYRES

Yesterday evening we wanted to try one of the newly-opened restaurants on the Golden Mile. B. Ayres is a two-month old restaurant specializing in Argentine cuisine and as we are asado (grill) lovers, we were eager to check it out. The place is decorated simply but with eye-popping colours just like the facades of the buildings in Buenos Aires' La Boca neighborhood. There is a few outdoor tables plus a larger inner terrace, perfect for dining al fresco in the cooler months.

We were fairly sure of what we wanted so we quickly perused the menu. The selection was large with starters, salads, meats and also pasta section. Surprisingly, there was also cochinillo (suckling pig) listed on the menu along with some traditional seafood and fish dishes like rape (monkfish) and gambas (prawns) which are not Argentinean at all but Spanish. That should have been our warning signal.

In any case, we ordered some meat empanadas to start, the raviolis with spinach and ricotta for our son, the panciotti with aubergine and Scamorza cheese for my husband and a grilled entrecote for myself. The empanadas were hot and freshly-made and were good but weren't the traditional crispy, deep-fried empanadas that we were expecting. The pastas arrived were very good although the portions are a bit small (about 6 pieces per plate). My entrecote arrived served with three sauces - criolla (tomato and onion), chimichurri (herbs, oil and vinegar) and another of cilantro and oil. The meat was perfectly coked but obviously not on a parilla (charcoal or wood-fired grill) and wasn't an entrecote (rib-eye) at all but a thick sirloin which is more of a Spanish meat cut. The accompanying sauces were fine but not authentic in any way - the chimichurri was flavoured with paprika and chili and the cilantro oil was a random addition and not typically served in Argentina. Although the meat was good, the actual effect was just having a good steak in a continental/Spanish restaurant and not at all an authentic Argentine meal which is what the restaurant promotes. To end the meal, we risked to order a classic Argentine dessert of panqueque con dulce de leche - it was two cold crepes presented in a funky way stuffed with dulce de leche that wasn't melted and hot over a plate decorated with chocolate and fruit syrup - a mix-up of flavours that wasn't a panqueque con dulce de leche at all!

Was the meal horrible? Not at all, but it was disappointing nevertheless after all the hype and expectation we had of having a traditional Argentine dinner. Next time, we'll stick to our tried and tested favourite Clerico in downtown Marbella instead. At least there, you know what you're going to get and it'll be Argentinean all the way. Otherwise, if you want to have a decent meal, then go to B.Ayres where you can have one but it won't be Argentine in any way.

7 comments:

Miguel said...

I wish they had an Argentinian restaurant in Manila

Anonymous said...

I´ve been at Bayres 2 weeks ago and i must say that a had a wonderfull dinner with my husband.. I read your comment about the meat not been cooked on a charcoal grill and it surprised me because that was exactly what caught my attention that night; the massive charcoal grill that i consider nothing but a work of art.
A little correction. Rape translates as Monkfish not as violación.

Gourmet Traveller said...

Hi Miguel,
Guess it's something that someone will open eventually. Let me know if they do.

G.T.

Hi Anonymous,

Lucky that you had a good dinner. I didn't say that our dinner was bad, just not Argentinean. (Although the panqueque was definitely bad).

As for the rape, it is translated as monkfish - where did you see "violacion"?

G.T.

Tim said...

In my opinion the two best Argentinian Parilla restaurants on the coast are: Estilo Campo, in Fuengirola on fish alley, ask for Fernando to wait on you! and El Relinque near Sotogrande in Pueblo Nuevo.

Gourmet Traveller said...

Thanks for the tip Tim! We had heard about the one in Sotogrande but no one could explain where it was exactly. My husband will be happy to know that there is another Argentine restaurant to try nearby. Maybe we'll got this weekend.

G.T.

El Gordo said...

Although we have fried empanadas in Argentina (Empanadas suflé) most of our empanadas are oven baked. Our most famous ones are the empanadas from San Juan (oven baked) and the empanadas from Salta (oven baked). They are usually small.

Cheers! ElGordo.

Gourmet Traveller said...

Thanks for checking in "El Gordo" (love your moniker, so Argentinean). I've heard about the empanadas de Salta though not the ones of San Juan. As for empanadas sufle - they're my favorite or amybe I just haven't tried an incredible baked empanada yet. Any tips on where to get the best baked empanadas in B.A.?