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Sunday, 11 December 2011

De la Panza, Islington

De la Panza is tricky to find, and you will certainly work up an appetite if you choose to walk from one of the not-so-close tube stations, which we did. This is a good thing, because steaks here are epic and require a degree of hunger.

“De La Panza” means all about the belly, and is based on the bodegons that you can find in Buenos Aires. It has a friendly atmosphere inside with delicious aromas from the kitchen tickling your senses. We ordered a bottle of the house white which was deliciously light and fresh though in retrospect a red wine probably would have suited the predominantly meat meal better.

Knowing too well that hearty steaks were to follow we ordered light starters. My companion tried the Ensalada de la Casa - a conventional salad with balanced ingredients: lovely ripe avocado slices, and spiced marinated chicken. The portion size was huge and more appropriate as a main. I chose the Crema De Calabaza: a thick butternut squash, onion and sesame soup. The flavour was a little heavy on the sesame oil for my taste.

For the main event we both chose steaks, the fillet and the sirloin. The fillet steak was an incredible hunk of flesh, so vast I couldn’t quite believe it when my friend finished it, smiling with satisfaction. I ordered the sirloin and asked for it butterfly cooked, where the steak is sliced down the centre making it thinner. It was absolutely delicious especially accompanied with the unique chimichura herby sauce. We had chips and salad on the side.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, my friend decided he could fit in a dessert and was delighted with his exceptionally sweet Panqueques (pancakes with cream and dulce de leche) though I found it too sugary. I had a small portion of strawberry ice-cream to finish my meal.

If you are after an impressively good steak and lovely glass of wine, De La Panza is the place for you. Tapas is also served daily and, having scanned the menu briefly, definitely looks worth a try.

Visit De La Panza website here.

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