Monday, 28 November 2016

Gatecrasher review: La Mar, Buenos Aires

Ok, here's an experiment; normally this blog does what it says on the tin and gives you the heads up/low down on what's happening in and around London. However, at this precise moment I am sitting on a terrace overlooking the pool in a gorgeous zen hideaway just outside of Buenos Aires in Argentina after a wonderful dinner last night and I have decided to go off-piste and blog a non-London restaurant. So, here is the very first 'gatecrasher' review - La Mar, a Peruvian cebichería in the Palermo district of the city of Buenos Aires.

La Mar was probably the hottest new restaurant opening last year and it is still buzzing. There were doubts that a restaurant focusing on fish and seafood would last once the novelty had worn off but it is clearly still the place to be and be seen; we were guests of some very chic and well-connected Argentinian ladies so were shown straight to one of the coveted outdoor tables, right next to the bar.

We started off with a bottle of red while we looked through the menu, which arrived with a bowl of sweet potato crisps accompanied by two dipping sauces, one mild and one gently spicy. There isn't an English menu but the wait staff are very helpful. One of our companions ordered for us, which worked very well; it was a real treat to sit back and have dish after wonderful dish arrive magically at the table. The first was Causas Barranco - prawns with avocado on a shaped and seasoned mashed potato base, a traditional Peruvian starter. (Potatoes are the major crop of the Andes, region, with over 3,000 different varieties growing in Peru and the surrounding areas.)

Next to arrive was - I think - a Ceviche Mixto and a Clásico, fish and seafood of the day in the fabulously-named leche de tigre, literally 'tiger's milk'. This is the marinade that the ceviche has been steeped in, a mixture of lime juice, garlic, fresh coriander, chillies and red onion, often served in a shot glass alongside. 

The wontons that arrived next were particularly good - light and crisp, packed with a juicy seafood filling and served with a tamarind dip.

The Quinoa Caprese salad was not the most obvious accompaniment somehow, but was really good; excellent creamy burrata which contrasted well with the freshness and chilli-citrussy sharpness of the ceviche.

To finish we had a traditional Peruvian dessert, a Suspiro Limeño (literally, 'sigh of Lima'); this is a caramel-type base not dissimilar to Argentina's famous dulce de leche (but slightly less dense) topped with meringue made with port. It is still very sweet - we shared one between four so we could all have a taste and were happy with that!

The bar in the courtyard is very cool; we stuck to the red wine and so didn't get round to trying the pisco cocktails, but if you go, try the chilcano and tell me what it's like. 

Yours, loving the outdoor dining in November,

Girl About Town xx