Cocina Sunae

Supper clubs are the latest fad to hit Buenos Aires; behind every closed door you walk past there could be a little private restaurant waiting for you. The name that kept popping up the most was a place called Cocina Sunae. Cocina Sunae has been around for a couple of years and I had been informed by a few people that it was one of the best ones around. Specializing in South East Asian cuisine, Cocina Sunae promised to introduce you to a variety of food from the region. Seeing as there is a general lack of any decent Asian restaurants in Buenos Aires (with a few exceptions) this seemed like a good place to start.
The menu appeared the day before and read pretty well; dumplings, prawn salad, chicken curry or sweet chili fish and battered banana with green tea ice cream. Sounded pretty good to me, so I arrived at the door pretty hopeful. After knocking we were led through a pretty little patio where a few couples were eating and into a nicely lit dining room with about 10 other people in it. So far so good.
We sat down and were served some delicious lychee cocktails and waited for the first course. Then we waited a little more. And then a bit more, and an hour after sitting down we were told that the dumplings were on the way. I understand that we shouldn’t have expected restaurant service but an hour’s wait for the first course, particularly with a pre-ordered menu, is a long wait by anyone’s standards especially when other tables that arrived after us were served first. By the time they arrived we were all so hungry that we practically inhaled the three small, slightly soggy dumplings that came with a very rich black vinegar sauce. They were completely forgettable and very bland. Not a good start.

Next up was the Thai shrimp salad in a very spicy sauce. Well, to start with there was very little sauce and it was not what I would call very spicy, or even spicy for that matter. What was served was a piece of lettuce with some onion, mint and a couple of prawns. It wasn’t terrible but it was very ordinary and lacked any particular flavour and was gone in a matter of minutes (It was now 11pm and I was starving).

By this point I was getting a bit pissed off, the food so far was very ordinary, had been served incredibly slowly and everything had generally been a bit crap. Could the curry main course save the day? It certainly smelled good when placed in front of me, and looked the part (unlike its predecessors). And it turned out to be as good as it smelled; spicy, full of flavour and the rice was very good too. Things were starting to improve!

The last thing on the menu was the battered banana with green tea ice cream. This was perfectly decent although battered fruit isn’t my favourite thing to eat. The batter was nice and crispy and the ice cream was very good but again it didn’t blow my mind.

The food cost $110 (pesos) and with a few cocktails the bill came to $150 a head. I thought this was pretty pricey for what had been served. For that amount of money you can get a pretty decent feed in BA and I didn’t feel that Cocina Sunae had provided a meal that reflected the amount we paid. I understand that there are certain challenges that everyone faces when they open their private houses to the public and I don’t want to put Cocina Sunae down but I think there are a lot better places to spend that amount of money in this city and I don’t think I’ll come back anytime soon I’m afraid.

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4 thoughts on “Cocina Sunae

  1. Hi Hamish, I do remember the night you came… honestly, it was an off night and overbooked since it was our first night back from summer vacation. I had a problem with the dumpling dough (hot night) and it caused all the other dishes to come out very late. Normally, everyone leaves very happy. Argentines find the food very spicy, so I have to make the food around medium, now I’m making sure that non-Argentines get their food spicier.

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