We were treated to a welcome feriado this week in Buenos Aires and so it seemed the perfect opportunity to head down to Fierro Hotel and check out their tasting menu that I had heard some great things about. It’s been getting a lot of good press recently, not just for the food but the rooms (all kitted out with iPads), but also the fact that it is one of the few places that has Pimms in the city, which hasn’t hurt it’s reputation. You can find Fierro in the heart of Palermo Hollywood, an unassuming little entrance decked out in red and are led through into a lovely dining room with lots of light and a warm atmosphere, I felt immediately relaxed and hesitantly thought that this might be a “really” good lunch, something I haven’t had in Buenos Aires for a while.
The head chef at Fierro is Hernan Gipponi, previously of Guggenheim Bilbao and Quique Dacosta’s El Poblet in Denia, Valencia which both boast Michelin stars back in Europe. Naturally this rather raised the bar on what we expected but it’s been a while since we really went all out so I was rather excited as well.
After sitting down, we had a quick perusal of the menu but there was only one thing on our mind and we ordered the 10 course tasting menu. The menu wasn’t specific about what would be served, only going as far to name the type of course it would be; entrée, starter, fish course etc. This didn’t put me off particularly but I do like to have a paper version of what I am eating just because it’s nice to have a reference point and it’s sometimes hard to hear exactly what the waiter is saying.
Anyways, on to the food. It being the day of independence and all we started with a little bowl of locro and a meat empanada, which sounds boring but was done really well. The locro was suitably hearty and the empanada was easily one of the best I’ve had in Buenos Aires, light and full of flavour. This was a nice way to start the meal especially after the hearty walk over.
This was followed by an interesting dish; a prawn served with some little potatoes in a jasmine soup. When I was told what we were being served I was rather intrigued but in reality it wasn’t a particularly exciting. The prawn was nice but there was only one and it was pretty small, it went well with the soup but again it was all a bit small and fiddly. If you are going to do a dish like this then you need to have a big flavour pay off at the end and this really didn’t pack enough punch.
The next dish was lot more successful, sweetbreads served with lemon grass and fennel. I really liked this dish, sweetbreads can be tricky to get right and can sometimes be a bit chewy or lacking in flavour. This was quite the opposite and worked really well with the zestiness of the lemon grass. I could have eaten a lot of this and my plate emptied rather quickly.
Things continued in a positive vein with the next dish that was a lovely white salmon with potato puree. Lovely meaty fish with a creamy sauce and some grilled courgettes, this was perhaps the best of the savoury dishes, each bite to be savoured.
Sadly things to a bit of a nose dive after the salmon, next up was the “rice” dish which turned out to be fried calamari in a bowl of brown rice. This was sadly as boring as it sounds; no discernible flavour, slightly cold and a bit chewy. I didn’t think this dish offered anything at all and only ate half of it.
The final savoury dish was a beef cheek served with green onion puree, and small roast potatoes. This dish wasn’t as bad as the previous one but didn’t get near the heights of the earlier stuff. The potatoes tasted like they had been out for a while and the beef could have done with a bit more seasoning I thought. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t a great dish although the green onion puree was very good.
So that was the end of the savoury courses, some good, some bad and one great but overall very enjoyable and we still had a couple of pudding courses to finish up with. I would have liked a cheese course before the sweet stuff but that’s just because I am greedy.
I really enjoyed both the sweet courses. The first was a sort of lychee yoghurt type of thing (this is why I’d like a menu) which sounds rather boring but was in fact absolutely delicious, once I had one bite I couldn’t seem to stop till it was all gone in about 1 minute flat, which I regretted instantly as I then had to watch J enjoy her’s at a more normal pace. This was a great dessert and worked well after 7 courses of meat and fish, it was very good indeed.
The last dish of the day was Tic Tac (yes Tic Tac) ice cream with a ginger bread sponge. This was a fun way to end the lunch, and you could really taste the sweets in the ice cream.
So after walking in at 1:30 we left Fierro 3 hours later with our stomachs full but not bursting (this was a good thing) and having had a very enjoyable lunch. Some of the dishes may have been a little below par but Fierro made up for it with a lovely atmosphere and great service. The wine list was great too, we started with a bottle of champagne and then matched the later courses with a pinot noir and a malbec, the malbec was particularly good and reasonably priced. The bill was quite hefty at the end but came out as exactly the same as two courses at Sipan with a few cocktails so it’s all relative. I would still rate Paraje Arevalo as the best taster in Buenos Aires but this made a worthy effort and we had a great time.