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Thursday, 16 February 2012

1810 Cocina Regional - Julián Alvarez 1988, Palermo

Empanadas vary so greatly in quality that finding the best ones in Buenos Aires is a surprisingly difficult feat. Luckily I have been living close to 1810, a place that serves up food typical of the Andean region of northern Argentina. Think tamales, hearty stews, rice pudding, home-made flan, rib-sticking food fit for hardy gauchos. But their speciality seems to be their empanadas which are a far cry from the limp pallid specimens displayed in every second bakery window in BsAs.

Humita en Chala
In fact, on the night we go to 1810, most of our fellow diners are ordering empanadas, many are eating nothing else with their carafes of wine. We follow suit. From an impressive twelve fillings to choose from we order just three to share, the extreme humidity outside having dampened our hunger a little. Substantial warming food like this seems more apt for wintery climes, but we are undeterred and tuck in with ease once the golden toasted empanadas arrive.

The tuna filled kind is spicy and juicy, the Roquefort one is piquant, and the ricotta and ham empanada, coated with a glistening sprinkling of caramelised sugar, is the perfect blend of sweet and salty goodness in a warm crisp doughy shell. We also order Humita en Chala - a corn husk filled with creamed sweetcorn, red chilli and cheese - which is mellow yet flavoursome and comes with a biting spicy red salsa and fluffy bread rolls. 

With water and house wine the bill comes to less than eighty pesos (less than £12) for the two of us. I make a mental note to return to sample the remaining empanada flavours before too long.

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