What could be better than a succulent fillet straight off the grill on a Sunday? Francis Mallmann's latest venture in Mendoza is sure to get mouths watering as they witness his finesse with the roaring flames.
Argentina’s finest gastronomical export after beef has launched his latest establishment, the second to open in the province of Mendoza. Teaming up with The Vines of Mendoza to create Siete Fuegos Asado (Seven Fires Barbecue), grill king Francis Mallmann is now stoking the flames from Wednesday to Sunday at the Vines’ private vineyard estate in wine-growing hotspot Valle de Uco.
Mallmann, whose restaurants include Patagonia Sur in Buenos Aires, 1884 in Mendoza and El Garzón in Uruguay, goes back to his roots with Siete Fuegos Asado. Grilling is the name of the game, but this is no average barbecue. Seven open-flame techniques are the tools that sear every last morsel.
Although the asado or barbecue is a weekend ritual for many Argentines, usually comprising juicy ribs or a suckling pig for the more adventurous, it is obviously difficult for visitors to secure an invite.
But Siete Fuegos Asado’s dining experience allows them to do just that, while taking advantage of the great outdoors. Located at the foot of the majestic Andes mountain range, Mallmann's special grilling touch is given to various meat cuts as well as seasonal vegetables and seafood. Think butter-soft fillet slathered in spicy chimichurri, salt-crusted salmon or tender kid topped with salsa criolla, followed up by just-picked peaches charred to succulent oblivion.
As the chef, who hosts various cooking programmes, says: "Taste has to do with the romantic edge of uncertainty – I like to create dissonance and contrasts in each mouth-watering bite".
Of course, no genuine Argentine asado would be complete without a splash of wine. Seven varietals, including some local Wine Advocate 90+ pointers, accompany each course.
A note on The Vines: its Resort & Spa complex, due for completion in September 2013, has just joined Leading Hotels of the World, the fifth in Argentina to do so. Once it opens, Siete Fuegos Asado will swap its bamboo roof for a permanent home and will be known simply as Siete Fuegos restaurant.