Valentines day reared it’s ugly head again last week but don’t worry this post isn’t going to be a rant about cosumer driven holidays. While I am not wild about Valentine’s day per se, I will however take any excuse to treat myself to a treatsy dinner somewhere and this was no exception. When it comes to the more pricey restaurants in Buenos Aires I think it would be fair to say that the city can be a bit hit and miss; sometimes you feel completely ripped off and at others that you’re getting a bargain.
As Valentine’s day fell on Monday this year we decided to go out on Saturday, and on a whim we went for Astrid and Gaston, an up market Peruvian restaurant in Las Canitas. I’d heard good things about it and I was in the mood (as always) for ceviche.
The layout of A&G is a little confusing, as you walk in you feel like you’re being let into someone’s house, lots of little rooms with 4 or 5 tables in them and a large staircase in the middle. We were seated in the room by the bar which I thought was probably the best place to sit; a few of the other rooms looked a little pokey and were a rather lurid green. We were presented with a rather bulky menu that contained everything you might expect from a Peruvian restaurant; ceviche, tiraditos, causas, and a few European dishes thrown in at the end for good measure.
We ordered a few things to start; some ceviche, some mini chicken causas, and fried rolls filled with chicken, pork and vegetables. First up came the ceviche, which I thought was quite poor. There was hardly any red onions, a few bits of maiz and way too much sauce. The fish admittedly was of very good quality, Pollack I think, but it was drowned out in the sea of sauce which wasn’t very tasty at all. Chan Chan, Ceviche and Libelula were all far superior, so not a great start.
The chicken causas were tasty; my girlfriend absolutely loved them but I wasn’t so sure.
Finally the rolls; which again were good but nothing mind-boggling. Basically the starters were all pretty meh.
Next up were the mains and we had both chosen salmon dishes. I had gone for pink salmon with a ginger and pepper glaze while my girlfriend went for white salmon with wild rice and a creamy sauce. My salmon was very tasty and came with a delicious cannelloni type side which complemented it well.
Neither I nor my girlfriend had had white salmon before and she enjoyed it a lot although she wasn’t so keen on the sauce that came with it, complaining that it was a bit too heavy.
The shining star of the night was actually the wine, a Torrontes from a Gran Linaje. You might have read about Torrontes, it is currently labeled the white wine equivalent of Malbec and is very popular down here and starting to gain notoriety outside of Argentina. It makes a nice change to the usual contenders, I am not huge lover of fruity white wines but this really hit the spot. The other comment I’d make is that the service at Astrid and Gaston was spot on; very welcoming and helpful, sadly the food was quite forgettable so I don’t think I’ll be back very soon. Supper for two with this wine was just over 600 pesos and I think my money could be better spent elsewhere. Besides in terms of ceviche my heart already belongs to Chan Chan.