The last time I went to Teddy Picker’s I felt a bit unwell, so didn’t end up ordering my dish of choice – the Brekky Roll ($15) with crumbed brisket, ‘red eye’ mayo, pickled jalapenos shallots and a fried egg – but I rectified the situation this visit. Firstly, what I love about Teddy Picker’s is the non-traditional breakfast options. Sure, other places have more choices, but you’re going to encounter unusual flavours here, which shows their understanding of the Canberra market. The Brekky Roll is a perfect example. No bacon here – the crumbed brisket is fried to crispness on the outside, leaving the meat within tender and moist, so that the overall effect is a texture party in your mouth. I love that the meat is a little bit sweet from the slow cooking, and this works perfectly with the tangy mayo slathered on top. I am a huge fan of the deep fried shallots (so much crunch!) and whilst jalapeno isn’t your typical breakfast accompaniment, the pickled version used here adds so much flavour, I couldn’t imagine the dish without them. My only gripe was that the egg wasn’t positioned to ooze into the roll (it went all over the plate instead, such a waste), but I think I’ll just have to go back and perfect my technique.
Teddy Picker’s, 65 Constitution Avenue, Campbell ACT, http://www.teddypickers.com.au/
I finally made it to Mexican Society, and I’m so glad I did. I started with a mojito, the perfect drink to accompany spicy food. I would have liked it slightly sweeter (and fizzy) but otherwise it hit the spot. First dish was a soft shell crab taco ($11.50 each) and it was a hard one to beat. The lime jalapeno mayo was hot, but it matched the outside-crispy, inside-tender crab meat perfectly. The fresh salsa balanced the dish and we could have happily eaten these all night. Next up was the kingfish ceviche ($15.90), which had a fabulous flavour combo of macadamias, pomegranate and orange in the curing mix, but as with most dishes of this style, all the seafood flavour was lost. I’d recommend getting some extra tortillas to mop up the sauce. Finally we had the slow cooked beef enchiladas ($25.90) with a side of sweet potato chips ($7.90). Holy cow, those chips were divine. The seasoning was some kind of magic chilli lime combination and we devoured them. A must-order. The enchiladas were the least spicy dish of the day, with plenty of sour cream, cheese and coriander to add flavour. The beef was super tender and tasty to boot. I can’t wait to come back for more!
Mexican Society of Chinatown, 140 Gouger Street, Adelaide SA, http://mexicansociety.com.au/
The final of #parillaweek is a big one – be sure to include this on any BA itinerary! I’d heard that La Cabrera, one of the top parillas in BA, had a special deal for ‘early’ diners (i.e. tourists) where everything was 40% off the menu if you arrived at their ‘annex restaurant’ before 7pm. I was there on my last night in BA, and enjoyed said discount thoroughly. A plate shaped like a cow with complimentary olives and slices of a tasty terrine was brought out after ordering, and I treated myself to a glass of malbec to accompany the meal. My first dish was the half serve of mollejas grilladas (usually ARS $344), which came out with three glass dishes full of condiments – pickles and olives, yum! Drizzled with lemon, the large sweetbreads were beautifully tender and perfectly cooked. Yum. Next was the bife de chorizo (400g, usually ARS $375), which came with another round of condiments (including a side of corn cheese bake) and had two plump pieces of beef on the platter. Of course it was way too much food, but each mouthful was too delicious to stop – the beef was nicely seasoned, just on medium-rare and super tender. The whole experience (including Gotan Project background music) ticked all the BA stereotype boxes, including top notch food. Highly recommended.
La Cabrera (annex store), Cabrera 5099, Palermo Buenos Aires, Argentina, http://lacabrera.com.ar/
#parillaweek continues! Palermo is a foodie paradise, and on my first day in BA, I found what was one of my favourite restaurants of the whole trip – turns out it’s a favourite of my relatives there too! Parilla Miranda sits elegantly on a street corner, and is one of the few parillas with a sleek, modern interior. I had no idea about portion sizes, so ordered the mollejas (sweetbreads) as an entree – one of my favourite childhood treats. Oh. My. God. Firstly, the plate was HUGE, but secondly, they were by far the most delicious sweetbreads I’ve had in my life (sorry Dad). Slightly pan-seared to form a crust, and drizzled with fresh lemon, each creamy mouthful was heavenly. If you haven’t tried mollejas before, this serve would be a large but friendly introduction to this delicacy. Foolishly, I’d also ordered a main, a steak served with potatoes, roast capsicum with a baked egg inside, chimmichurri and a small salad. I was a long way from finishing it, but the beef was perfectly medium-rare, the capscium sweet and the potatoes rich. I dined here twice on my trip, and expect it will be my first stop should I be lucky enough to return. Go. Please, go.
Miranda, corner of Costa Rica y Fitz Roy, Palermo, Buenos Aires, http://parrillamiranda.com/
Happy 2017! In honour of friends moving to Argentina soon, it’s #parillaweek! What’s a parilla, I hear you ask? It’s an Argentine steakhouse, that’s what. So, here we go. Parilla Peña is billed as an authentic local steak experience, and it certainly lives up to that reputation. Staffed by all male waiters and with an unpretentious, giant grill by the door, I knew I was in for a treat. Of couse, I over-ordered for one, starting with a chorizo (ARS $40) and then picking the bife de chorizo (rump, ARS $220) as my main cut. Before my chorizo arrived, a cheese empanada was provided as a starter on the house, served cold. It was tasty, but I held back from that (and the bread) to save room for the main event. The chorizo was lovely, although not the best I’d have in BA, but the bife de chorizo was utterly divine. It was huge (larger than my hand), and cooked to perfection with the red blush of a true medium-rare steak. The meat just melted in my mouth, tender and so full of flavour you can’t even imagine. I did end up cutting off a fair amount of fat, but the portion was so large I left about a quarter uneaten (not for want of trying). I couldn’t believe the value – such a top quality steak for roughly AUD $20?! Unimaginable in Australia.
Pena, Rodríguez Pena 682, 1020 CABA, Argentina, http://www.parrillapenia.url.ph/
‘Closed door’ restaurants (hosted in private homes) are hugely fashionable in Buenos Aires at the moment, so when my friend highly recommended Steaks by Luis, I booked right away ($79 USD for a set 5 course menu). The real fun is that it’s an asado (traditional Argentine BBQ), and you share the table with the whole restaurant (about 30 people). We started with an explanation of the cuts and the importance of salting the beef ahead of time. We then enjoyed empanadas, cut chorizo, salami and bread with a glass of sparkling to start, and had the chance to meet other beef-lovers. Next up was a fresh salad of lettuce, tomato, onion and apple – definitely needed ahead of the first hot course. The platter of assorted offal was delicious, with my childhood favourite of sweetbreads a highlight (so plump and tender), along with the intestine, pork and beef sausage, and ribs. If that wasn’t enough meat, then came our 350g bife de chorizo cut – mine was medium-rare, and it was perfection. Tender, incredibly tasty and very, very filling, this was a perfect introduction to Argentine cuisine. Finally, we managed to fit in a sliver of dulce de leche cheesecake, which was pure decadence. Every course was perfection – fasting ahead of time recommended!
Steaks by Luis, Palermo address provided after booking, https://steakbuenosaires.net/steak/
Sometimes you just need a burger. After a matinee at the Opera House, I found myself craving some beef, and remembered the diner-style addition to The Morrison that is Parlour Burger. Having eaten there in a hurry once on a work trip, I decided to pop in without the time pressure to satisfy my craving. Parlour Burger has a simple concept – five different burgers, $10 each – and has something for everyone’s tastes. I picked ‘The Original Morrison’, a beef burger with chipotle mayonnaise and decided not to have a side, despite being sorely tempted by the deep-fried pickles and the duck fat chips. You can choose to have your patty pink or cooked through – the menu recommends the pink option, so that’s what I went with. The burger came out quickly and was hot and fresh – the patty is a bit coarse, so you feel like you’re sinking your teeth into some serious meat. There’s lettuce, tomato and pickles on top, and the chipotle mayonnaise has a good amount of bite to it. Parlour delivers exactly what it promises – a cheap, filling, tasty feed served without fuss.
Parlour Burger, 225 George Street Sydney, NSW http://www.themorrison.com.au