Most recently visited on Valentine's Day - superb service, not at all rushed (altough do two sittings on an evening). The staff we really attentive and helpful, nothing was too much trouble. The food is always outstanding and this was no exception, go hungry, the steaks are big - top tip, share a portion of chips, they are generously sized. Had house wine, was delicious and a good price. Would recommend to all. Fantastic steak.
Friday night. Me, a friend, the city. We looked each other in the eyes (me and the city, my friend was working) and decided where to eat tonight. a growl came from my stomach: MEAT!
And who in the world has the best meat and do know how to perfectly cook it!? Argentina my friends! Tango, Pampas and cows!
Looking for argentinian on yelp and this was the first restaurant showing up, nice reviews, next to home... decided!
First thing first: BOOK FOR IT. The place is small, and in the time we had dinner at least 15 people have been refused, so don-t try to take a shot, book for it and go!
Of course we had the parillada, the deluxe one (or the special one, the great one, anyway the one with the cool name!), and they brought a nice mini grill with the food on top.. nice! it reminds me of a place where I used to work, we basically served meat in the same way! there were two different kind of steaks, sausage, black sausage and cheese... well the cheese is a bit silly, but still it was good!
Quality of the meat: damn it's high!! really really good, perfectly cooked, no exceptions! a wonderful job! PS they cooked the mead on a inclined grill, it's something you want to see!
We obviously had a bottle of wine, in the specific a malbec 2010, perfectly joined with the meat! If I remember well they only have argentinian wine so if your knowledge of overseas reds is not that high that-s a good place where you can try a couple of new things!
The only thing.. the price.. we spent 50 pounds each, it's a bit too much for what we ate, but the meat was damn good so... it's still ok!
In conclusion, if you want to have a nice meat evening, strongly suggested!
PS: I saw a couple of reviews where they had dinner here for st valentine..... I'd not suggest it, too noisy, and smelly (it's grilled meat, it's supposed to be smelly!), just come here with a couple of friends and enjoy sharing some meat!
DELICIOUS! I go and dine alone and eat my heart out (usually there for business travel)!! YUMM!!!
Berenjena al escabeche is really tasty, but you also have to try the Bife ancho con guarnición. The delicious meals are on reasonable prices. But the service is not so fast. I'm not in the restaurant very often, because of the lack of free time. Of course, when I have an opportunity, I usually don't miss it.
If I have to be honest, these days I'm trying to beat my hunger, because I will gain some extra weight. Besides the summer is coming and we have to be prepared for it. But I just can't resist on the well-prepared dishes in my favourite restaurants.
Brought my boy here for his birthday treat and he loved it. Owned by a half Irish, half Argentinian chef, the meat comes from Argentina. You can see him cook it too, which is pretty cool.
The menu was pretty veg phobic, but thats not why you go, is it?? We ordered chips and probably gotten something a bit better for you....
Pretty pricey, but worth it.
You will leave stuffed,
Went here for the first time last week with a friend from work and we both had a burger. I am not usually a burger fan but thought that it being an Argentinian restaurant they might have a better class of burger.
I am SO glad I did because it was the BEST burger I've ever had in my life. I had to bring someone out for lunch a few days later and brought here here too and introduced her to their amazing burger and now she's also addicted! In fact, the whole company wants to go there.
So, the burger: A huge, soft juicy burger cooked on a barbecue inside the restaurant, to your taste. Mine was medium and it actually arrived medium! The bread they use is sort of Italian style so more chewy than a burger bun and much more delicious. On top of the burger was delicious cheese and caremelised onions as well as lovely tomatoes and lettuce. It needed nothing added to it. Truly scrumptious. It was £7.50 and worth every penny.
Next time I want to try the steak sandwich!
What. Just. Happened.? Sure I read the reviews before I went into Buen Ayre. The unassuming place on Broadway Market received good marks, but one never knows. This place murdered my expectations and sent me to meat heaven. Thank you.
Because we were foolish n00bs we showed up sans reservation on a Saturday night. The waitstaff somehow squeezed us in which was just magical. Darker magic would follow, however, when they dropped the parrillada mixta in front of us. The parrilla brought to our table was heated by coals and contained a mountain o' meat. Sadly I can't remember exactly what was on there, but it was something like BEEF, BEEF, MEAT, sausage, STEAK, black pudding, STEAKMEATBEEF oh yeah and mushrooms. As if to guarantee heart failure they also threw in a few pieces of provolone cheese.
...One final note on the place that will probably be irrelevant to your experience, but the entire staff there was extremely courteous and thoughtful of our 3-person party. Sure they were 'just doing their jobs' but the service was the tops I've had in London. First they fit us in, then it started to rain so they found us a table inside; they even did a lightening fast job of cleaning up after an oafish guy spilled wine all over himself. That's all..positive vibes into the ether.
I live in the area and when passing this little restaurant, have always been impressed by the busy vibrant atmosphere and mouth watering aromas. So, having found myself a new job, the man and I decided to book a table and go celebrate.
It is a busy place so I recommend booking a few days in advance. They have 2 sittings 6.30/7 - 9 and 9.15 to close ( 12).
It is amazing ! A small little place, busy and full of atmosphere. The service was fast but not rushed, the wine was delish and the food .... oh lordy! We have one of the shared dishes ...... a right royal meat feast of 14oz ribeye, 10oz Fillet, gorgeous spicy sausages, black pudding and provolone cheese .... we also ordered the green salad which was delicious too!
The best steak i've ever had and Ive had some amazing steaks in the US .. this was just above and beyond!
Would absolutely recommend this little gem and will be going back very soon !
Got mugged by a steak at this place. My eyes were way too big for my belly!! Never had such a vast steak - absolutely awesome. It was "only" a 10oz'er Sirloin. I felt like Homer Simpson on one of his eat-a-thon's.
The temptation is to order a starter and then go for main plus chips n salad.
As a certain bunch of irritating young people once sang - "Just say NO!"
You will never finish it all, or die trying.
This is my idea of heaven - superb meaty food, excellent wine, in a great intimate location.
It's well know, book well in advance, prepare to spend a few quid, and get the biggest and best stuffing you're ever likely to enjoy this side of the big pond.
PS don't wear tight fitting clothes, preferably loosely elasticated trousers - you know, those old jogging pants that have lost alot of their twang.
I expected great things, and was not disappointed.
This unassuming spot in Broadway Market gets by on its well deserved reputation alone. From the outside, and when you squint through the window, you won't see anything flash or pretentious (looking at you Gaucho), but just wooden furniture and staff in jeans and over-worn, over-washed baggy restaurant tshirts. It's when you get inside that the smell hits you. My co-eater noted, with some delight, that it even smelt like South America - the meat, the wine, the spices. Mouths were watering.
Down to business - friendly, if not a little indifferent, service and rustic, simple décor. In the middle of the room is the huge grill on which the slabs of meat were being cooked. It was fun watching these guys move the meat around, clearly knowledgeable and skilled. The wine we were recommended, a Malbec of course, was damn good.
When my food arrived, there was a wry smile on my face. Perhaps it was a boastful smile. The sizzling paradilla that was squeezed onto our table was a meat delight. 2 sausages, 1 black pudding, a slab of provolone and the stars of the show, a huuuuge sirloin and a juicy fillet. Shared between two, this was more than enough. We went for a side of salad to compliment. The meat was fantastic. Really, very good. And the sign of a good steak - the fat from the sirloin was melt-in-your-mouth juicy and tasty. Such a treat.
As we were one of the last customers to finish, we witnessed the staff setting up for an end of shift dinner. Steaks, bread, salads and bottles of wine were assembled on the table and they promptly sat down to eat together to see the night out. Nice touch that.
This is the best place in London to get a superb steak that I am aware of. I believe the meat is imported from Argentina.
I have been here 4 times and each and every time have I been so full and pleased with the steaks they serve. The only negative thing I can say is that the steaks are too big.
Last time I went here was 12 March and I decided to have learned my lesson and 'only' ordered a 8oz Sirloin steak. It was more then enough and cooked to perfection. I want my steaks rare but rarely get it the way I want it. Not at this place, they know how to do it right. My guests had the fillet and also the 14oz Sirloin steak. the 14oz is huge and a min 5cm thick and plain massive.
My recommendation is to share any fries and salad you might order - it will be enough.
This place is always full so do your reservation in advance.
This is carnivores paradise- meat eaters - unite - and vegetarians this is your worst nitemare.
Famous for its grilled meats - this south American Argentinian restaurant is getting a reputation for its good eating and amazing grilling. All kinds of steaks on offer -
If you like your meat cooked you better let them know because they do not do it naturally. The portions are generous and if you are not used to eating meat like this you might want to plan on cycling home !!
It is rich stuff - I do not eat meat alot but this was good ( we carefully avoided any "sweetmeats" and went for the classic sirloin with portabellos mushrooms before -
filling , very filling...
Evolutionary psychologists love to tell us that we're all still cavemen: Women are attracted to the alpha male, men commit infidelity to maximise their reproductive potential, and we all maintain a social group of no more than a couple of hundred individuals - supposedly the size of a typical prehistoric village. It's probably a load of old bollocks, but it's a fine excuse to eat large, semi-raw slabs of dead animal. Which leads me to....
Buen Ayre. You see, Buen Ayre serves large, semi-raw slabs of dead animal. Subtle link, huh?
The food's basic but of a very high quality. There's almost no veggie option. It's also fairly pricey, but factor in that you'll get more food than you can (un)comfortably eat and they box-up the leftovers, so you can have steak'n'eggs the next morning. This place isn't a regular haunt for me - neither my wallet nor intestinal tract could survive - but I'm glad it's in my neighbourhood for the odd visit a year.
I wouldn't blame you for not trusting a skinny Welshman's opinion on steak. But an Argentinian friend - whose sole reason for getting out of bed in the morning seems to be to sneer at the quality of British steak - recommends it too.
Fantastic restaurant. They surely know how to prepare meat. It's always tender, perfectly cooked and nicely seasoned. The place has an unique atmosphere and a certain class, regardless that it's a steak house.
I went here purely because so many people had Yelped about it and I wanted to see if the hype was worth it. And it totally was. Thanks Yelpers!
I love love loved it and seriously, having lost my favourite steak place a long time ago (it was amazing, for some strange reason it shut down) I've been looking for the cow-shaped missing piece to my heart. And I've found it. I was so tempted to order the parrillada but there were only two of us, and I don't think I could have handled it given the size of steak I ordered. I think I ended up ordering the tiny one (tiny compared to the others) with the chips and it was amazing. The sauce they give you with the steak is amazing. The parsley and salt they have on the chips is amazing. It was really good and book ahead. They always have queues. Even in the mornings. And go in a group, with lots of burly cow-eating boys.
After hearing about this place more times that I can count on two hands, I walked in spontaneously. The reason I walked in was partly because I was sick of peoples reactions when I said I hadn't been, kind of like the reactions I get when I tell everyone I haven't seen The Godfather.
Anyway, it was amazing, I love steak, I really do, I would have had a whole 14oz to myself if it wasn't for my very modest financial income at the time (the 14oz is 20 pounds). As well as sharing the 14oz steak with my girlfriend, we also shared the Empanadas, which are small Argentine pasties, one with beef and one with spinach & cheese. All of the food was great. The steak was incredibly thick and incredibly beautiful. As well as the delightful food, there is a large selection of wine from Argentina on offer.
I will go again, hopefully I will go many times again. I would definitely recommend booking, we were very lucky to get a table just strolling in off the street.
Very nice steak house that you'll need to book for unless you don't mind eating early and being kicked out before 8.
I love watching the steaks being cooked over the burning wood and adore the meat. But it is pricey, and there is nothing much for people who aren't into their steaks. Also, I'm not too keen on their chips - £4.50 or something for what looks and tastes like frozen chips = minus 1 star!
This is a small, busy Argentinian restaurant on broadway market. Reservations are recommended
Usually I am quite good at deciding my ratings, but just occasionally I wish I could give a half point. This is a very good restaurant but I just don't feel it's quite worth a 4.
The steak here is lovely, but I wish there was an option to have a sauce other than the one they provide. Perhaps this is some form of sacrilege in this case, I don't know, but I don't half love a good peppercorn sauce on my dead cow. The sides are very tasty tooas are the wines. I'm not much of a dessert person to be honest, especially after a massive steak.
The service is efficient and while it is expensive as restaurants go, the price is less than average for specialty Steak venues.
I'm still really torn with my rating. I guess I should see this as an excuse to go back for another slab of meat.
After hearing so many good things about this Argentine restaurant I decided to try it for myself a few months ago.
This is not the place to come if you are a veggi, for the menu comprises of meat meat and more meat!
I ordered the 8oz grilled Argentine Sirloin steak for £10.50 which was cooked to perfection washed down with a glass of Malbec @ £3 a glass.
Overall the place is very unpretentious and the food is great quality. Situated in the heart of Broadway Market,thumbs up!
Top tip here señoras y señores, make sure you pre-book before rocking up and expecting to get a table. I showed up on Easter Monday, and managed to wing a table for two next to the toilets, adjacent to a drafty breeze. But enough of the pessimism, I've been dying to go to this revered restaurant forever and a day, not least because Carlitos Tévez and David Cronenberg have eaten here! Actually that's not the real reason, it's the sensational steak of course.
Not one for carnivores, I opted for the Parrillada Deluxe (min. 2 personas) £23.00 (per person) comprising of 14oz prime Argentine Sirloin steak + 11oz grilled Argentine Rib-eye steak
two Argentine-style pork sausages + black pudding + provolone cheese, served on a mini BBQ of charcoal. Absolutely no way an averagely proportioned woman (not a sexist jibe but appetite barometer) could scoff this lot down, infact the doggy bag is sitting in my fridge as I type! For a true Argentinian adventure, well worth a visit.
Buen Ayre - Pics @ The London Foodie
Having lived in Brazil for most of my teenage years, I was lucky enough to have experienced the many Churrascaria or Rodizio restaurants of the land. These are superb restaurants, real paradise to all meat lovers, and I strongly recommend them to anyone visiting Brazil. The flipside is that, in the UK, a steak house will need to be truly outstanding to impress me, and Buen Ayre has certainly ticked most boxes.
It was my third visit to Buen Ayre since moving to Islington last year, and I believe it was probably my best one. Their signature dish is any variation of their Parrillada, a selection of meats, cheese and mushroom served on a hot grill. The grill, similar to a portable barbecue, has smouldering hot charcoal underneath it keeping the meat hot throughout the meal at your table.
In my previous two visits we tried their Parrillada Deluxe containing some prime cuts like rib eye & sirloin in addition to sausages and other meats, and also their Parrillada Mixta which is a mixture of different cuts and sausages with melted provolone cheese and mushroom. They were both delicious, and at £23 and £21 per person respectively, they were also incredibly good value.
This time, we tried the Parrillada Al Paso, a selection of grilled meats, Argentine-style pork sausages, flank steak, black pudding and short ribs.
The meats were perfectly grilled with a delicious charred quality on the outside whilst pink and amazingly succulent inside. The meats were very tender and the selection of different cuts was very well thought out. Seasoning was minimal, possibly sea salt only, and therefore the meat flavours were unadulterated and intense. The beef and sausages were fresh, tender, and juicy, a real treat.
We also ordered a portion of chips (papas fritas) £4.50, and some grilled provolone cheese (provoleta) £4.00 to accompany the Parrillada. I would have normally resented paying £4.50 for a portion of chips. I do not know if they are double or triple cooked, roasted, fried, or both, or what type of potatoes they use, but they were outstanding and I highly recommend ordering them with your meal. They were worth every penny and should go down in food history as THE BEST chips I have EVER eaten.
Another revelation of the evening was their black pudding (morcilla) which in the two previous visits I did not have room left to try. I am not a great fan of black pudding but their morcilla was delicious, incredibly soft with hints of paprika and smokiness similar to a spicy chorizo.
Our waitress, Stefane, was very friendly and efficient. I asked her whether I could take some pictures of the main grill area and restaurant and she was very happy to accommodate me. Towards the end of the meal we had a lovely chat and I found out that like her husband, the resident Chef that evening, she was also a fellow Brazilian.
Their Argentinian wine list is comprehensive and well priced catering to all budgets. We had a bottle of Cuma (organic Malbec) which at £17.40 was spot on.
I had skipped lunch in anticipation of my dinner at Buen Ayre, but just as before, I was flagging two thirds into my Parrillada. It is quite a funny, communal experience whenever I go to Buen Ayre the exchange of looks and smiles of amazement from other fellow diners as their Parrilladas arrive, a feeling of shared camaraderie prevails which make Buen Ayre a very special place.
Verdict Perfect meat, perfect chips & morcilla, charming service and great wine. At £66.83 for two, I would rate Buen Ayre as one of the best value Argentinian restaurants in London, and as good as the ones I tried in Brazil. I will most certainly be coming back. Highly recommended.
I went to this restaurant last Friday to take a friend out for a birthday treat, and I've not stopped talking about it ever since.
It was simply the best steak experience I've ever had. I love a bit of red meat so I've eaten at the some big named steak restaurants in town like Gaucho. But those places pale into comparison when you get steak as good as it is at Buen Ayre.
We ordered the Parrillada Deluxe (min. 2 personas) which isn't cheap at £23.00 but it includes 14oz prime Argentine Sirloin steak + 11oz grilled Argentine Rib-eye steak two Argentine-style pork sausages + black pudding + provolone cheese. That's enough food to feed a small army. Plus we added some chips and a garlic and rocket salad to that, and a bottle of nice white wine at £17.50 per bottle. Total bill was £81. Not cheap, but for that quality of food - it's really, really worth it.
The meat arrives on a mini BBQ which sits on your table and keeps the food hot, and sizzling away so it gently cooks for longer if you like your steak a bit more well done than your eating partner.
When the waitress came and checked on us, we were so happy in our own little meat-infused worlds that we were literally dancing in our seats.
I can't recommend this restaurant enough. Book to guarantee a table. They do two sittings a night from 6:30pm and 9pm. Amazing, I'll be going back again and again.
OK, this really is the place for steaks and many other forms of meat! Do not think for a moment to take a veggie with you, just unleash the inner caveman and sit back and enjoy some really good meat.
It is a well reviewed place and I really can't disagree, it is simple, unpretentious and very good.
I loved the atmosphere and the latiin american music, the house wine was very good, the service was attentive and relaxed, the decor simple but the real star is the food.
Whether it was the sweetbreads, the marinated ox tongue or the Parrillada Deluxe with fantastic steak and sausages the quality and the flavour was outstanding.
One tip, don't order chips with your Parrillada Deluxe you really won't be able to fit them in! They were delicious by the way.
Highly recommended for meat and steak lovers. I'll be going again for sure.
Everything was delicious! Surloin steak, mushrooms and browmie! Mice merlot! Going back for sure!
A small, but excellent Argentinian steak house.
I had the 10oz rump and it was definitely one of the best I have had in the UK.
One minor complaint is that I asked for medium and got what I would describe as rare. The meat was tender enough that I did not mind though.
I went for a meal at Buen Ayre for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had to try their beef and I went for the Paradilla Deluxe which you share with one other person although there were 3 of us so they were happy to oblige. When the dish came to our table it came on a display tray of some sort which consisted of the beef, sausages, black pudding and some melted cheese. I've never seen anything like it in my life in terms of the thickness if the meat. I tucked in and I was in heaven!
In addition to the food we ordered some red wine which was lovely and I think it was called Gestos. I would definitely recommend this restaurant hence the 5 stars.
The meat there is tasty and not raw. The atmosphere is ok, not so stylish but still pleasant. I'm not going very often. If I have to be honest, I haven't eaten there for days. But the memories are nice and motivate me to go there soon again.
oooo the steak here is good! You'd hope so, it being a steak house. But it's easy to go wrong, and many do. Santa Maria Del Buen Ayre however is right on the money.
The steak is cooked on the grill in the restaurant so you can see it as it cooks..it smells fantastic! The fries are also really lovely but the chimmichuri sauce is the piece de resistance.
the prices aren't too bad at all, even if you choose one of the better cuts of meat. I definitely recommend a visit.
Simply awesome. Had the 370g steak with the parsley&garlic fries. Filled my belly exactly the right way :D
Oh Dearthis is a local for me and somewhere I have been quite often and championed to friends.
Therefore when I saw some recent reviews denigrating the service there I felt resentful of these reviewers and defensive towards what I had experienced as warm attentive serviceI take it back
I understand and appreciate these negative reviews now.
I popped in tonight on spec without reservation post gym so feeling worthy of a treat. As a Monday there was Soave and the staff said sit where you like. I was speaking with a friend on hands-free mobile but the waitress was understanding and I ordered a glass of house red and steak easily with smiles and nods.
The wine came with bread and their delicious flavoured butter. Then the steak, medium rare as requested, delicious and only accompanied by the poorest excuse of a side salad that any meat lover would gladly eschew.
The waitress checked half way through if all to my liking with a raised eyebrow, I responded with 2 thumbs up and gesticulated for a second glass of house red that arrived promptly.
Then it all went a bit wrong
I finished my steak (not even the most zealous of vegetarians would have touched the salad) and then sat there for over 30 minutes with no interest from any staff in finding out if I may wish a pudding, coffee, glass of wine (mine clearly finished) or anything else.
They sat chatting to each other in the more than half empty restaurant ignoring me, despite plaintive and many looks in their direction (this is not a big place).
My friend on the phone even said at one point are you still waiting?!
When I finally got their attention ( hard won) I did say that I thought it a shame that in a quiet restaurant on a Monday night I had to wait over 30 minutes after my main and drink had gone to get any service and only then when I had to really work to get their attention away from their chatting.
The woman (a different waitress to my first) looked miffed and surprised as if I was being unreasonable making this very politely put comment. I had asked to see the menu again (you know, maybe for a pudding or coffee?) .
This waitress turned on her heel, conferred with a male waiter at the bar, pointing at me. He then came over with a menu and was just astoundingly rude. He asked what the problem was, I explained politely again that I felt it a shame I had been made to wait over 30 minutes after finishing my main on an empty Monday night to be served again (and get my plate cleared)
He said thisthat my waitress thought I was being ironic.
He said that they had ignored me out of consideration as I was on a phone call.
I pointed out that I had entered, got a table, ordered a drink, a meal and a second drink without problem so why the problem now?
When speaking with this waiter he lent forward close to me with an aggressive confused frown on his face. I said, can you not hear me?. He said no, I can hear you. His tone and manner was disrespectful and contemptuous and I suddenly remembered all the reviews I had read of Buen Ayre saying the same. I said look, I am simply pointing out that leaving a diner in your restaurant on a quiet night without asking how they are, clearing their plate or offering them a menu or asking if they would like anything else seems at least inattentive, you seem to have a problem with that, I'm trying to give your business custom.
He sighed and said do you WANT to see the menu? in a surly sarcastic tone.
I said no, just the bill please.
It was plonked down derisorily.
Dear recent fellow reviewers, I apologise for doubting your experience. It is always a shame when a good eateries that has traded not only on its good but quality of service and atmosphere loses this to contempt for those who support it, more so when it your local.
The steak was good, as was the wine, but for these I can thank the supplier. The service left a bad taste in my mouth
As I pass if I see a change of staff I may return, but it won't be for some time
For those who love to indulge in steaks Buen Ayre is the best place for i don't think any other place can match its standard. The ambiance is unpretentious and simple. The food from bread , sausages to parillada deluxe, all mouth watering. A must visit for every meat lover.
went with three people. thought we'd be good with ordering a parrillada mixed grill for two. for some reason we also ordered chips, salad, and a starter.
turned out to be like a dead baby cow plunked on our table on hot coals. definitely could have fed a fourth or maybe a fifth person or maybe also a ravenously hungry hyena.
it's all a little overwhelming, but also awesome. just go hungry. and carnivorous.
This is the place to go for hungry carnivores - if you're looking for steak, steak or steak, this is worth a look. I'm vegetarian and so it as never really appealed to me, although they do a couple of veggie options, its pretty lacking - out of my two choices I tried the grilled flat mushrooms with pesto.
Located on Broadway Market, it is a fairly small, cosy restaurant, always packed full so it's usually worth booking. There's a good selection of wine from Argentina, focussing on red wine to compliment the meat.
If you're a vegetarian I would definitely advise eating somewhere a bit less geared towards the carnivores, unless of course you're dragged along by meat lovers.
Fully booked for a reason. Wonderful location and nice atmosphere despite a smaller space. Still, on mother's Day we fitted the buggy, a high chair, one toddler and two adults at the small table at the back. All the lumps come out great and go nicely with the bread butter and pomme frites sides. Great afters and dark chocolate ice cream. Can't REALLY call it pricey because the portions for the value are so generous but you'll want about 30 to 40 quid per person if you want to eat hearty and have some lovely wine.
Full review and photos at grumblinggourmet.com
If the Gaucho Grill is the 18 stone bully of the Argentinian Steak House scene, kicking sand in everyone's face and making you think that they invented the art of grilling meat, then Buen Ayre is definitely the speccy nerd. Except that this speccy nerd really knows how to look after himself.
If ever a man were born with a steak knife in his mouth, then that man must be Buen Ayre's co-owner, John P. Rattigan. Born to expat Irish parents, a nation not slouching when it comes to fine cattle husbandry, on a cattle ranch outside Buenos Aires, he eventually moved to the UK to set up Buen Ayre. His title is not Chef, but Asador - the title given to those Argentines who shoulder the heavy responsibility for the BBQ - the high priest who officiates over the holiest holy of Argentine cuisine.
Buen Ayre is a steak restaurant. That much is clear. There is no point going here unless you too worship at the altar of meat. 45 covers only, it could sit quietly in the corner of one of Gaucho's barns. They run two sittings, 6.45pm and 9pm, and I'd advise the later one... trying to stagger through this quantity of meat in 2 hours is a challenge.
The centre point of the rustic Hackney restaurant is the authentic parilla that takes pride of place in the bijoux open-plan kitchen. It's a huge metal grill, custom built in Argentina, on which the slabs of beef are stacked before being lowered onto a base covered in glowing charcoal. The sight of the grill, a bovine version of the Spanish Inquisition, groans with meats and sausages and serves to highlight why you're not here for the salad. I would describe the rest of the restaurant, but dear reader, I didn't notice it. Wood? Maybe some pictures? Sod it, I was here for the meat...
Bread (standard white baguette and a couple of Jacobs crackers) was rescued utterly with a heavenly mix of blue cheese and butter to spread. God knows how good that would have been on nice bread. It came with a brace of homemade empanadas; crumbly buttery pastry cases like spicy Cornish pasties enclosing fresh, hot fillings, designed to take the edge off our hunger. I couldn't stop with the blue cheese mix, determined as I was not to ruin the steak to follow.
We went for the Parillada Deluxe. A metal tray heated over some of those charcoals, served to your table with a selection of steaks, sausages and cheese (yes, cheese, I'll come back to that). The tray arrived dwarfing the diminutive server, the pair of steaks stacked precariously over the grill. The deluxe comes with a 14oz sirloin and an 11oz rib-eye, both served the rare side of medium rare (to the possible detriment of the fattier rib-eye), sizzling slightly on the plate. If this wasn't enough, the grill also contains two large sausages, disappointingly dry this time but I've been assured that this is a rarity, and four nuggets of a homemade spicy, crumbling black pudding. And a disc of creamy provolone cheese with a topping of dried herbs, sizzling away in a corner of the plate, pulled away in artery threatening lumps. Nice as it was, it felt somewhat extraneous, like they were really trying to fill you with as much fat as you could take. Vital, tasty, life affirming fat for sure, but I felt towards the end of the marathon a little like a force-fed goose. The meat for the record was good. Very good. And certainly one to wave under the nose of anyone who has ever uttered the sentence, "I never bother with steak, it's all too samey for me". I won't mention the char, or the marbling, or any of the other phrases that confirmed meatheads will bandy around, but will confirm that the flesh was deep red throughout and had the most beautiful, almost sweet, taste.
We didn't have time for desserts, feeling slightly rushed at the end of our time slot. It's unlikely we'd have had room for any, but the option would have been nice. A swift espresso then instead, before rolling off into the Hackney night. I'll be back, and will find it hard to go back to the Gaucho after this. Have a look, you won't be disappointed.
Oh lord. Went here for dinner last night- wow. As a committed carnivore I like to devour as much meat as possible when I'm taken out for dinner and last night was no exception- And when the meat tastes this incredible and is cooked with this much love, affection and chargrilled devotion then who can possibly resist [Any vegetarians saying I can resist- why on earth are you reading a review of a steakhouse?].
This is an intimate, buzzy steak place which is so authentically south American I wanted to light up a couple dozen extra strength cigarettes just to give it the final touch for a truly latin atmosphere. Instead I ordered some food, because I was ravenous. We started with empanadas- mini pasties filled with, in this case, beef for me [I told you, I love meat], spinach and cheese for my companion. Both were delicious. Then the main courses- I chose the 11oz ribeye, which arrived medium rare [on the rare side, as I like it], charred to perfection and meltingly tender. She had the 10oz fillet, the fattest fillet I've ever had the pleasure of ogling, and as I ended up finishing the last 3oz or so of that hunk of meat I can tell you it tasted as good as it looked, which is rarely the case with gorgeous looking things. The sides of chips and a salad were hot and tasty, and the Argentinian wines went down a treat. To finish try the Flan Casero with Dulche de Leche- A creme caramel with dollops of sweet caramel at the sides, delicious with a cafe con leche and a [on the house] glass of Malamado, or Argentine port. The service was.. lets say relaxed, but that was in keeping with the atmosphere of the place, and the food came quickly and kept me and my hunger pangs quiet. Definitely one to make the trip for.
About the nearest you will get to an authentic argentine steak outside of Buenos Aires, surely in the top 3 steak restarants in London, if not England. A slice of Latin America in Hackney.
Whenever the topic for conversation about places to eat, or what restaurants you have been to. Buen Ayre is always mentioned, i cannot help but praise this place enough for serving the best steak i have ever eaten. This place is truly a gem, and its in Hackney.
This place is for genuine meat eaters. Even during weekdays, it looked fully booked in evening.
I ordered the smallest steak but it was far large for me. (see the pic). I eat sanguine meat only once a year but this restaurant is truly worth a scarce occasion rather than at a pretentious steak house in the West End or the City.
Glass door and windows with decorations of Old Buenos Aires influenced by Paris . you can find astor piazzola, maradona, and other Argentinian heroes on the art-deco flavour glass windows. ow many do you know?
Unfortunately music was not piazzola but good latino ballades. There is a small backyard for guests (15-20 people max?) in open air.
Coming back to food, this is the right place for meat. Medium cook por favor well, it was accurately medium cooked.
Perhaps, they might wish to change a salad bowl from metal to simple ceramic or rustic porcelain? Argentinian dressing is spicy good. I had a double maciato that was also correct. a good coffee. Pricewise, reasonable. Likely on a bit less expensive side in the Boradway Market that is up-market these days.
In the end, you feel fulfilled (I wouldn't have to eat meat for next 12 months or longer) and renew our understanding that a full-bodied Argentinian Red is the best suited for a dynamic grilled tasty meat (not with Bordeaulais bottles, please!).
With one exception, that this excellent little Argentinian restaurant is actually in London Fields rather than in Shoreditch, I am at one with most of the other reviewers. Yes, it gets busy and the poor friendly waitress was rushed off her feet, albeit well assisted by the busy male chefs. Or should I call them meat grillers because that is mostly what they do to perfection! My scoring is that pf a carnovore a veggie would also enjoy the breads and hot salads and, for the customers at least, the laid back young bourgeois ambience but they would miss out on this place's USP, high quality beef cut cut and accompanied in a variety of different ways. Although the menu looks a bit pricey for the area at first glance, the quantities and quality combined make for great value, and they do offer a £12 set lunch if those criteria aren't enough to get you there! The Argentinian red house wine at £15.50 was very good and just robust enough to complement the meat. You won't have much room for a desert but the strong espresso rounds it all off brilliantly.
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