La Boca Bar and Grill has come a long way since it first opened in 2014. The success of the Argentinian restaurant has seen a second open in Sydney with plans for another in Melbourne. While it wasn’t clear what the purpose of the event was at the beginning of the night, Adelaide Food Central and other guests were certainly looking forward to an evening of delicious Argentinian food hosted by Head Chef Nicolas Arriola.
The night started off with cocktails and canapes in the presidential suite of the Stamford Plaza Adelaide Hotel. The luxurious accommodation has 120 square metres of living area and spectacular views of the northern side of the city. I counted three large flat screen televisions which included one in the super sized bathroom. At $1500 a night, this is how one would celebrate if they were to win the lottery.
After all the mingling in the presidential suite, the group headed down to the restaurant section. Seated at the bar in front of the open kitchen, we had the privilege of watching Head Chef Nicolas Arriola in action. We found out he was publishing a book called “Stories and Recipes from an Argentinian Chef”, which contained recipes for what we were about to eat. Nicolas is also going to appear in the next episode of Food Safari, as well as release a La Boca range of chimichurri sauce. The night was really about a triple celebration of all things La Boca.
To start off the night, we had some Cold Picadas. This consisted of house cured traditional charcuterie and cheeses sitting on top of a long flat slice of bread. The bread was nice and firm, and the drizzle of olive oil over it stopped it from being too dry. My personal favourite was the blue cheese as it was nice and pungent without being too sharp. The least favourite was the cold cooked meat made from pigs head. It was very slimy in texture and it probably would have been ok had I not known what it was.
Next were the Hot Picadas. From left to right, we had the Fresh Oyster in criolla sauce, Grilled Prawns with garlic and lemon sauce, and Smoked Scallops with sweet tomato pesto. The criolla sauce on the oyster is an Argentinian salsa and was light and refreshing. It’s the perfect topping for those who don’t like raw oyster. The Grilled Prawns were juicy and succulent, and you could taste the smokey flavours in the meat. With the shell still on, this is one where you have to get your hands dirty. The Smoked Scallops were juicy and succulent, with a subtle smokey flavour.
The mains were the star of the show with three cooked meats (pork, beef and lamb) from the asador. All the meats were cooked to perfection, and when combined with the chimichurri sauce, were taken to the next level. The roast pork was the best I’ve ever had. The meat was tender and succulent with very little fat visible, and the skin was perfectly crunchy. The next favourite was the roast lamb because who doesn’t like that? Anybody that has lamb on a spit before would know what I mean.
As I always say, no meal is complete without dessert. What we had was the Chocotorta, which translated is a chocolate and caramel cake. The combination of cookies, cream, coffee and dulce de leche mixed together, give the dessert a lovely marbled effect. The texture is smooth and creamy, and incredibly addictive. The natural sweetness of the strawberries and blueberries heighten the decadence of the dessert.
Adelaide Food Central would like to thank all the staff at Stamford Hotels and Resorts, as well as La Boca Bar and Grill for their hospitality. A great night was had by all and the restaurant showed why they’re one of the top Argentinian eateries in Adelaide.
Head Chef Nicolas Arriola will be appearing on SBS Food Safari at 8pm on Thursday February 11th 2016. His book is both useful and interesting, and will be available at good book stores.
WHERE: Stamford Plaza Adelaide, 150 North Tce, Adelaide