Set in the back streets of the (dodgy) Palermo Hollywood neighbourhood, is the giant doorway to The Argentine Experience. As you step in, the space is open, natural and aromas, from the kitchen, flow through the lobby making you salivate. And while you’re indulging in the aromas, you are immediately welcomed by smiley faces and given a wine-based cocktail welcome drink. And if that isn’t nice of them enough, they quickly escort you upstairs where they kit you out with a chefs’ hat and apron, snazzy enough to rival those on Masterchef.
Once you’ve had the first sip of Malbec and settled in with the group (our group consisted of 4 Australians and 4 Americans), the hosts start with the house rules and gets the conversations going, making you feel like you’re in your own dining room.
The experience started with learning how to make our own empanadas using pulled meat, sweet onions that had been caramelised in Malbec and other vegetables. We learnt the traditional way of folding the pastry (very similar to how my nan makes dumplings) and then we were given the opportunity to earn the title of “Best Empanada Maker” with a “creative” empanada-making challenge. No doubt the penis won. Men, pfft.
After all the laughing of the winning empanada, we learnt a bit more about the origin of the steak we were about to partake in, and the boutique wines we were drinking. It was good to hear that The Argentine Experience supports local and regional farmers for all the produce. They claim to have tasted steaks from 20 or so farmers, in order to pick the best for the restaurant, and OMFG!!! The steak blew our minds away. I still think about it to this day.
Once we were done with the steaks, they brought out the components for the alfajores. Alfajores, are Argentina’s national sweet, and consist of two biscuits filled with dulce de leche in between, which then is covered in melted chocolate fondue and coconut shavings. It sounds delicious and actually is, but it is soooooo sweet, I thought I was going to get diabetes that minute. No joke. But we were able to wash down the sweetness with the bitterness of mate, which looks like you’re smoking a bong at first, but all it really is, is a very potent green tea like drink, drunk out of a bong like apparatus.
By the end of the night, we were full to the brim with meat and Malbec and had actually drunk them dry (what do you expect when you have Australians there). We were all having so much fun, that we decided to carry on at the next bar with our newfound friends.
From learning how to make empanadas, to eating THE BEST steak in my life (so far), to drinking mate and eating alfajores and making new friends, The Argentine Experience was the highlight of my Latin American experience. Just amazing. The free-flowing Malbec was my favourite part of the night!
I recommend you make time for this if you’re in Buenos Aires, and if you could, say hi to Nico for me. He’s a darling.
PS. The Argentine Experience will be opening up in Thailand soon (The Thailand Experience perhaps?) so keep your ears open for that!
The Argentine Experience
The bestie and I did the dinner experience (USD$ 85), but a combined wine experience (USD$ 115 – where you learn about Argentina’s flagship wines and how to make wine-based cocktails) is available.
a: Fitz Roy 2110, Palermo Hollywood, Buenos Aires
t: +54 (9) 15 6053 8133 (Español – Alex) or +54 (9) 15 3896 7552 (English/Portuguese – Vinicius)