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Zoilo – Cocina Argentina Review:
Taking a pescatarian to do a review of an Argentinian restaurant might be regarded as foolish, but the press release for Zoilo claimed it would offer dishes that gave a ‘firm nod’ to Argentina’s plentiful coast so, off I set with The Hedonist. Diego Jacquet, the Chef Patron of this vibrant and friendly restaurant has put together a menu of authentic dishes inspired by the Asado. But this place is about a lot more than steak, however wonderful that might be:)
We started with classic Empanadas. Small pastry cases, in my case filled with spiced beef (Empanadas Saltenas), while my pescatarian friend enjoyed a spinach raisin and pinenut version.
Now, one disadvantage (or possibly advantage) of sharing with a pescatarian is that he or she can’t share any of the meat dishes.
Perversely I seem to have my worst meat cravings in these situations and I REALLY wanted the morcilla and Criolla ( a spicy black pudding and red pepper dish) and of course a taste of rib-eye steak. So, we ordered…along with a couple of fish dishes, some chips and a salad.
The morcilla was delicious, spicy and soft without too much grease and topped with a red pepper salsa.
My friend’s mackerel escabeche arrived at about the same time. Beautifully presented, I had a tiny taste of this lovely fresh dish, which is essentially made by using a hot pickle to ‘cook’ fish which is then chilled.
Octopus was seasoned with spicy pepper and avoided that rubbery effect you can so easily get through overcooking or even allowing the fish to sit on a hot counter.
And, my rib-eye with chimichurri was perfectly cooked and delicious with its garlicky topping. Of course, we also ordered chips…
And, with some pretence at healthy eating, a salad of chicory, blue cheese and pomegranate
At this stage, I was too full to want dessert and instead opted for alfajores de maizena with my coffee – small shortbread-like biscuits.
But The Hedonist after his pescatarian menu had space for dulce de leche with banana split ice cream. And, for a few minutes, I briefly wished I hadn’t eaten quite so much meat!
The wine list is entirely Argentinian and much of it is available by the glass or carafe. And, the service is friendly and helpful.
I’ll be back – there’s plenty more on the menu that I’d like to try and the prices are reasonable for this part of town with small plates from just under £5 to just over £10 for 150g of ribeye with chimichurri.
We dined by invitation of the restaurant.
Zoilo Restaurant and Bar
9 Duke Street