East End bites
In a "hang loose" kind of mood, we started with a couple of gin and tonics at the nearby Market Café and then went off to eat. Buen Ayre is small, the tables are close and it’s packed. Of course it is. It’s relatively inexpensive for London, has some very good food, is passionately run and great fun. This place is charming and relaxed, we ate in the shanty extension out the back; it’s like going through to someone’s back room, having weaved our way through the cramped front of house and past the open grill.
It was legitimately treat night. This means a night off from my regime, to eat whatever I like. I’d just been measured (over 5cm off my stomach, in case you’re interested) and I was pretty excited. Harry, my father-in-law, was also in town so everyone was up for an indulgent night out and a little bit of what you fancy. Walking down Broadway Market that morning I spied Buen Ayre. It had been a while since I was last there, and now it seems like the godfather of restaurants, with all the new ones popping up along the street. Buen Ayre was one of the first to arrive in 2004 when the market and independent shops were just starting to revive the area. This establishment is just the thing when you’re in the mood for a non-negotiable hunk of
flesh. I definitely was and knew Harry would be too, so booked. It felt quite a build-up to the night. This place is a haven for carnivores. My younger and more fashionable neighbour later told me that it has now reached cult status. I had also noticed that it’s in Time Out’s top ten best places to eat steak in London, alongside the Hawksmoor in Spitalfields.
Without restraint we all had the classic, a 14oz sirloin steak, cooked just how you like it, and shared some seriously excellent chip perfection. I let Harry order the wine. It was Argentinian, deep red and rustic. Big H was happy. This local joint is the place to go when you fancy meat. It has no pretensions, no faff and a friendly service. You’ll also sleep well after eating here, so if you come along at lunchtimes (and I’m advised that a lot of you do), you might want to be careful if you’re operating heavy machinery that same afternoon.
I’m glad that John Rattagan, who’s in charge of the cooking and owner of this Argentinian grill, keeps his intent nice and straight forward – to cook simple meals based on meats, mostly slabs of cow, and cook them expertly over charcoal.
I had enjoyed it all. Well rested, I happily returned to the regime.
And "experto" he sure is, having cooked like this since the age of ten.
50 Broadway Market, E8 4QJ 020 7275 9900 buenayre.net
Susan Birtwistle Grilled Argentine sirloin £23.50 Side order of chips £4.50
LOVEEAST NOVEMBER 2015 33