El Baqueano describes itself as contemporary indigenous food both in terms of the produce and the cooking techniques.
Located in San Telmo, the corner restaurant has a cool and modern feel to it, and from the moment we stepped in the door, it felt like it would be a special meal.
They offer a degustation menu, that changes with the season, and with matching wines. Last year, it clocked in at #13 of the top 50 restaurants in Latin America.
Among the dishes that we were served: Duck bacon and butter
An upmarket interpretation of a humble sandwich.
It is an injustice that I didn’t keep track of the dishes that we ate. Sorry to the restaurant and to you, dear reader. But perhaps the photos are enjoyable in some way? The dish at the top of the page, by the way, had a llama tartare underneath that pretty quinoa and I’m slightly horrified now that I ate llama because I rather fell for the adorable guanacos in Patagonia. I felt their big sweet eyes staring at me contempuously after I ate some of them or their kin.
This one was Eggplant Escabeche
Two of the other dishes we had included Yacare Caiman, a small crocodile and Patagonian hare but I can’t match the ingredients up to the photos!
As you can see, there is some techniques of various blobs of delicious sauces, and dustings of different powders of food. This was a fish in a squid-inked batter, something spongey, and a few tempura leaves.
And the presentation is beautiful. This was an empanada, filled with something no doubt slightly rare. It was an interesting proposal, to take some dishes common to their cuisine… and then do something special with them.
The wines were great, as expected. I don’t meet many wines served at restaurants that I don’t like (though I occasionally buy something that is inexpensive and turns out to be not very nice). The pours were not as generous as at PuraTierra.
We also loved that there was a mother and daughter couple next to us, who spent some time sketching. What a lovely thing to do, we thought, to be creative and quiet and happy in their own spaces.
I was also quite charmed that the waiter sometimes asked us to identify the flavours, and engaged with us on what we thought the dish was. It was fun and I found myself really trying to think about the flavours that were put into the dishes.
One of the desserts was edible wood, lemon soup and cinnamon ice cream. Edible wood! Who would have thought of that?
Tripadvisor reminds me that it was about USD85 for the tasting menu. I’m glad that many reviewers had such a positive experience, with some of them feeling it was one of their best meals EVAH. I think the food is interesting and inventive, and I like the philosophy. It didn’t wow me though; even when the ingredients were obviously exotic (to me), they still felt slightly familiar. So there wasn’t a Wow Dish, or a few wow dishes. For my taste buds, a very nice evening but not as exciting on the tongue as it was intellectually.