"It's not much but it's ours"

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Connaught Village? Who knew eh? Not me and I know everything.

Take an otherwise ordinary street, chuck in a few posho shops and you’ve got yourself a Village. Believe me, Village is the new City. Marylebone Village, Pimlico Village, I wouldn’t be surprised if pretty soon there was one round DH way (when planning permission for a tall building in our nabe was recently blocked the reason given was it would spoil the unique village atmosphere of the Old Street roundabout area – yes, really).

Along with all these villages there seems to be an equally rapid rise in the number of Argentinian restaurants although I’m pretty certain there’s no causal link. The majority of these are parrillas and it’s not surprising to find that most of the staff have worked at one time or another at Santa Maria Del Buen Ayre, which used to be a big favourite of Dos Hermanos back in the day.

Casa Malevo, a new gaff in the aforementioned Connaught Village has just such a CV. So what’s different about this new gaff which promises to showcase “the very best that Argentine cuisine has to offer” ?

Well, not much really. The old favourites are present and correct: Empanadas, Provoleta, Morcilla, Mollejas and a small range of Steaks; a modest parillada and a wine list of big, headache-inducing Argentinian Reds with equally big (300% plus) mark-ups. Dulce de Leche for pud. The black and white photos of the old country adorning the walls. All quite unassuming really, which just about sums up the cooking.

One of the joys of the parrilla is just the pure visceral pleasure of them, primarily the smell of thick steaks and other meaty delights slowly cooking on the open grill. At Casa Malevo the pleasure seems to have been sucked right out.

Starters were a mixed bag. Some marinated Ox Tongue was let down by tasteless, chewy meat. Of the trio of Empanadas the Beef one was nice: flaky pastry and some decent filling. The Veggie and Chicken ones were eaten without comment. Morcilla and Chorizo were fine. One thing I did discover is that Argentinians love their Rocket – it was used with a generosity bordering on profligacy.

The best of the starters were the Sweetbreads which, once I had cleared all the greenery, had been cooked so they had a bit of char on the outside and were soft and melting on the inside.

The Steaks should really have been the highlight here. My Rib Eye had more flavour than the Sirloin and they were all properly cooked but it was all a bit polite: so much so you could probably serve them to a rabid Vegetarian without any comeback.

I was told by the restaurant that the chips were triple cooked but they were so poorly done I would have been happier with double cooked. They were dry, almost desiccated. I suspect they were cut too thin but in any case the kitchen may want to pay a visit to say Goodman or Hawksmoor to see how chips should be made.

To accompany my meat I ordered Criolla sauce. You may know it as a simple mixture of onion, tomatoes, peppers etc. Everything you know is wrong - it’s actually a very rare commodity, not far behind Truffles in the price stakes.

Please examine Photo 11 and you may notice an odd blemish in the middle of my Steak. Yes, dear reader, that is my Salsa Criolla. I can only feel sorry for the poor sods who order Pepper corn (sic). Unsurprisingly, after this experience, my appetite for flan was very dulled.

So aside from this exhibition of breathtaking cynicism what’s left? Well you have a tidy-looking restaurant serving unoriginal and unexciting food that is probably just good enough to keep the nobs from Connaught Village happy. But as a dispiriting, soulless experience it was up there with the Sky 3D Football I saw in the pub we visited afterwards.

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Anonymous J. Roberts said...

Won't be going there then... I'll just stick to the tried and tested Buen Ayre.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010 11:14:00 pm  
Blogger Gavin said...

Where the fuck is the Connaught Village?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010 11:21:00 pm  
Anonymous gary marshall said...

come on gav, keep up!

my post steak, post pub kebab on edgeware road was very good though!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010 7:58:00 am  
Anonymous Going With My Gut said...

The steaks look a bit thin. Not sure they would qualify even for "chica size" status in Argie proper. Meh.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010 9:47:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

300g It would be bear enough $40 for a decent size steak.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010 8:15:00 pm  
Anonymous Penny said...

Shame your experience wasn't great. I was there on Saturday night and had one of the best steaks ever, and my boyfriend's raviolis were to die for..

Wednesday, November 03, 2010 11:35:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

That's good to hear. How did it compare to other Argentinian places?

Thursday, November 04, 2010 6:57:00 am  
Anonymous tonimoroni said...

God almighty, it's even got its own website:

Thursday, November 04, 2010 9:39:00 am  
Anonymous Cooking Fairy said...

Those Steaks, and the pasty look amazing!! hmmmmm!

Thursday, November 04, 2010 3:57:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Hey CF,

You been on the waccy baccy? Anyway, it's not a pasty, it's an empanadilla and it wasn't too bad.

Yours, up in smoke.


Thursday, November 04, 2010 8:55:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey I am Argentine and this is the place I was waiting for: I LOVE it... great value for money and the place is nice... went there yesterday second time and (guess what?)the Criolla is free now!
What else? Had the BEST sweetbreads and pasta EVER outside Argentina. My boyfriend LOVED the steak and is so CHEAP for what it is! The difference with other places is that is authentic, unpretentions,value for money and still done professionally! Simple food, simple people we are!
Signed Mafalditalondon

Friday, November 05, 2010 5:42:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Good for you. You may want to get your Caps Lock key looked at though.

Monday, November 08, 2010 11:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Sasha @ The Happiness Project London said...

Oh boo. I just got back from an amazing 2 weeks in Argentina and my friend who works in a bodega in Mendoza sent me a link to this place. I'm missing bife de chorizo and malbec...

Oh well, I'll go back to my old favourite - Santa Maria Del Sur on Queenstown Road x

Friday, November 12, 2010 12:37:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey mafalditalondon...
we, Argentines, are not all "simple", speak for yourself.
going there tonight, will get back to los hermanos later...


Thursday, November 18, 2010 4:25:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see you havent changed Simon


Tuesday, November 23, 2010 4:23:00 pm  
Blogger cb1 said...

I had dinner there on Friday night. I'm delighted I didn't read your blog first or I might have been put off. I'd been keen to go as my husband is a big steak fan and we've been to Santa Maria in Battersea a few times as well as several of the Gaucho restaurants. To date, the steak at Santa Maria has been the best we've ever eaten, but I think this tied with it. The portions are smaller than Santa Maria, but still more than I could eat, particularly as we went for a starter too. I had goats cheese, hubby had sweetbreads. His was exceptional, mine very good. The steaks were melt in the mouth and the chips were delicious. For pudding my husband had the creme brulee and I had the passion fruit sorbet. Both were heaven. I really have to question whether you were in the same restaurant. It was very low-key but bustling with customers, some of whom were eating and drinking at the bar. The lighting is great so it is really moody and romantic - perfect for a date. The private dining room downstairs looks truly stunning. I'm definitely going back and taking a crowd so we can book that. A very cool place with great food.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 10:27:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

Hi Clive

Good to hear from you. Get in touch (via contact at the top)

I finitely have not changed much, but it was my brother who wrote this, not me

Hope all is well with you all


Wednesday, November 24, 2010 10:34:00 pm  
Anonymous Nemanja said...

After two attempts I managed to book a table for last night. For those who frown on Connaught street's "village" status, can take a short walk to Pread Street where they'll find the "golden triangle" of Mc Donald's, KFC & Burger King, all on one corner. Or why not do the "-oush crawl" visiting all the restaurants on Edgware road ending in "-oush", Ranoush, Maroush, Taboush, Fatoush and so on...

Food. OK it's not as good as steak in Argentina or at Goodmans but a great addition to the neighbourhood none the less. Wet dry aged steaks in transit from Argentina to UK can't compete with USDA prime beef cooked in a charcoal oven at places like Goodman. For starter we had a chicken & beef empanadas which were good. We tried the chorizo, too. While fat is essential in any sausage there seemed to be a bit too much in these. We had the rib-eye and sirloin which were both good but not amazing. Nice choice of heavy overpriced reds. The option of carafe is always welcome.

The service was great, genuine southern hospitality.

The fact that this restaurant opened only a month ago and is fully booked every night is the best indicator. Go.

Thursday, December 16, 2010 9:36:00 am  

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