Monday, 16 March 2015

Freddy's for lunch

On the eve of a birthday trip with Miles to The New Brighton - rated twelfth in TripAdvisor's top restaurants here in Buenos Aires, is it strange to blog about Freddy's?

Saturday afternoon; Stephanie and I walk the length of Bolivar to the mercado, turning left to Carlos Calvo 471. There, nestling under the side of the market, is Nuestra Parilla (otherwise known after it's owner as 'Lo de Freddy').

For this special gastronomic experience it is necessary to be unconditionally hungry and dressed down for street food. Freddy's is not a restaurant, but simply a small incision in the market wall containing six high stools, a shelf, and some of the best cooked beef, pork steaks, and pork sausages in the capital.

Our options, with prices from 25 to 60 pesos, were chorip├ín - chorizo sausage sandwich, morcip├ín - blood sausage sandwich, bondiola - pork shoulder, or matambre - beef flank steak. We chose the latter, wrapped in crusty white bread, covered in red chimichurri or green garlic and onion sauce, and washed down with a litre of pale Palermo - a light Argentine beer.

Sitting at the shelf with our perfectly cooked hunks of meat, it is easy to see why the word 'matambre' derives from the words 'kill hunger'. To our side, the wall is covered with slips of paper, 'postits' and signed photographs of visitors and patrons. It seems that the whole of the national football team have eaten here at some stage. Each message tells the story of a sated moment of complete satisfaction. Accompanying the food is the floor show, with portenos arriving, departing and simply calling by to chat with Freddy. Outside, a group of San Telmo children play with a market kitten, and an old Ford Falchon rumbles past on the paving sets. 

So, should you find yourself at that point of hunger that requires urgent support - forget the restaurants: make for Freddy's, and enjoy one of Buenos Aires' most evocative gastronomic moments.