After having experienced the culinary delights of a previous Vamos! event (last week’s delicious Cubano Pop Up Restaurant at Newcastle College’s Lifestyle Academy), I was very lucky to be invited along to the Secret Paladares event – this time taking a gastronomic tour of Argentina with chef Gareth Kyle at the Asado Supper Club.
I was introduced to the other guests (three couples – my usual dinner party scenario) and the lovely guys doing the photography and filming, and other members of the Vamos! team. Nemi, a student and events planner handed me a jam jar filled with a cocktail which she told me was a Legui Sour, a lemony drink made with an Argentinian liqueur that I’d never heard of. It was delicious and dangerously non-alcoholic tasting. After the music finished we were taken through to the kitchen, where the setting had been perfectly prepared, with the extensive menu for the evening written on a huge chalk board on the far wall, flower garlands strewn around the table and the Gotan Project playing in the background, setting the mood for the feast ahead.
We were then handed a double shot sized glass of gazpacho, which was welcomed on this balmy summer’s night, and then the sharing boards came out. The most delicious chorizo I’ve ever tasted appeared alongside delicately flavoured Maraqueta bread rolls, served with Provoleta cheese (a little like Edam) and beef empanadas (you’ve probably had them as canapés – like mini Cornish pasties but a lot spicier and tastier).
Then it was back to the living room for a musical interlude from Tango Zapatito whilst Gareth worked his magic on the grill, presenting us with a non-stop meat feast of braised beer ribs, whole roast chicken (which was so simple it was sublime), Patagonian Lamb which tasted like no lamb I’ve ever come across before (ridiculously tender) and the star of the show – skirt steak (also known as flatiron steak) which is cooked really fast on the grill and served rare. It’s no word of a lie that I was vegetarian before I came to the supper club – unless I was prepared to eat salad all night remaining veggie would have been impossible. I felt guilty but realised what I had been missing. The meats were served with a beetroot based Russian salad, a Salsa Criolla and Chimichurri (a green sauce made from parsley, minced garlic, olive oil and oregano), all equally delicious.