The one question every food critic is asked most — other than 'Does the restaurant know you're coming?' and 'Can you get me a table at The Fat Duck?' — is 'What's your favourite meal?' To which one is supposed to wax lyrical about the 42-course tasting menu at el Bulli, describing every clever twist and turn, every smear and foam, every little jelly and every tiny leaf.
Well, I'm sorry: I had the 42-course menu at el Bulli and I was thoroughly exhausted at the end of it, brilliant though Ferran Adrià's cooking was. Actually, there were plenty of single-mouthful courses, and one course was simply a box of smoke, so it wasn't quite as onerous as it sounds. It may seem Philistine to say so, but my favourite meal, the one I would eat were it my last sustenance on Earth, would be a big, fat, juicy steak. With a bottle of similarly big, fat and juicy red wine.
So, where in the world can you find both great steak and the perfect wine to go with it? 'Argentina, of course!' replies Zeev Godik, over lunch one day. Zeev is the godfather of Argentinian beef: he opened his first steak restaurant Gauchos in Amsterdam in
1976, two years before he had even visited Argentina;
the group now comprises 16 Gaucho restaurants, including outposts in Dubai and Beirut.
We are in his Piccadilly branch, on the aptly named Swallow Street. We try a variety of cuts of beef. Argentina is renowned for producing some of the finest beef in the world, thanks to the lush grass of the pampas, the vast plains on which pure-bred Angus cattle thrive. We try some wines, too. Argentina is famous for its Malbec, a grape from southwest France which, when subjected to the fierce heat of a Mendoza summer, produces a rich, spicy, almost purple wine with a velvet texture and soft tannins.
Way to go
British Airways flies to Buenos Aires from London Heathrow once a day. Flight time: about 13 hours.
Join the Executive Club and earn up to 34,630 Avios when you fly First to Buenos Aires (return). Or redeem your Avios: 70,000 will get you to Buenos Aires*.
Book now at ba.com