Restaurant Abrasado at Bodega Los Toneles dazzles with its steak

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You know that when there are hunks of beef maturing at the entrance of a restaurant, that you will be in for a good steak. And Abrasado certainly doesn’t disappoint.

This restaurant, tucked into the beautifully-restored Los Toneles winery, is all about its beef. This fact isn’t very surprising for Argentina, a country which has one of the highest per capita beef consumption rates in the world, but what takes many visitors aback is that it is in fact very rare to hang beef in Argentina. Abrasado is breaking the mould and serving deliciously tender steaks that have been dry-matured for a month on site. And you can go pick your own steak right there from the chiller.

A perfectly cooked steak at Abrasado

It does of course help that the family own a massive cattle ranch. And a chain of supermarkets. And a winery. They have all the ingredients necessary to make a stellar restaurant, and Abrasado takes full advantage of the fruits of their labour. From their homemade olive oil through to the quadruplet of individually flavoured salts, this is a highly personal menu that is overseen by the youngest generation of the Millan family and their energetic, young team of chefs, sommeliers and winemakers.

There’s a creative and playful flair to the menu that encourages you to sample and share with tasting plates such as their starter of a provoleta cheese board - where this Argentine delicacy comes served in three different ways. Paired with their fresh and bright ’Very Blanc’ Chardonnay-Sauvignon Blanc blend from the Uco Valley, it is a great start to the meal.

There isn’t just beef on the menu, the tasting menu includes interesting dishes such as a pasta roulade, carrot panna cotta and another highlight was a juicy pork loin sealed in garlic oil with a Malbec and chocolate sauce. Tasty, rich and excellent with their Cabernet Franc and Malbec blend.

Empanadas

The highlight of any dining experience at Abrasado though is, of course, the steak. It stole the show as the main course - tender, full of flavour and cooked a perfect pink (or however you like it). The plate was scattered with local aromatics which added a depth to the flavour and complimented the slight smokiness from the grill. This steak alone was reason enough for Abrasado to win the Great Wine Capitals Best Restaurant in Mendoza award.

You can’t ever leave without dessert and especially when it comes paired with their own sparkling wine (a champagnerie is another of the family’s assets). Dipping into the 6-course menu is the best excuse to try out some of the wide range of wines on offer, but you can order by the bottle or a la carte. However don’t be shy on the wines, Bodega Los Toneles have vineyards in prime spots in the Uco Valley and in San Juan which offer an interesting dynamic and comparison point.

Bone marrow (tuétano) - an Argentine delicacy

Eating out at wineries is one of my favourite pastimes in Mendoza. The food is usually great and you know you are in good hands with the wines. The only shame is that they are mainly limited to lunch time, but Abrasado has opened its doors in the evenings too and its location, just 15 minutes from the city centre, means it is ideal for a midweek meat treat. And that steak is sure to lure you back more than once…

 

By Amanda Barnes (www.thesqueezemagazine.com) @amanda_tweeter

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