Argentinian Beef at Cafe de Amigo

collageMost Singaporeans have a limited experience with beef from different countries. The most common being from Australian and New Zealand. Of course, the return of US grain-fed beef was welcomed with thunderous applause. And there was a recent craze with Wagyu beef, which this blog felt was just a numbers game (grade 5, grade 9 etc) and most reviews of that excellent beef were vague expressions of wonder (“This is the best beef I’ve ever tasted!”) or an opportunity for bragging rights (“So-and-So just brought in a shipment of grade 10 Wagyu beef and I’ve had it!”).

Number classification is necessary and useful for classifying the quality of a product, but when you reduce your own experience, dining or whatever, to a number (“I give it 3 out of 5 stars!”), it is tragic.

Ask yourself this question, do you make judgements by classification (“This Olive Oil is good because it is Extra Virgin”) or by taste, aroma and experience (“This Olive Oil is good because it is fruity, aromatic, neither bitter nor harsh”)?

Our society has been so overrun by benchmarks and measurements that we have forgotten what it is like to experience for ourselves. Good experiences are retained as good memories, bad experiences are lessons to be remembered. 😉

Anyway, to end the sermon (are you still awake?) and moving on smoothly, when Tommy Lam of Cafe de Amigo sent an email advertising Argentinian beef, the Dead Cow Society immediately organized itself in the form of a private dinner. This time we even allowed the womenfolk to join us.

Mrs. Lam opened up their private dining room to accomodate us. It was more, I think, to hold our wines than anything else.

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Dinner at Cafe de Amigo is fun for us because of its BYO policy. There is no better way, in Singapore, to fill a restaurant than having a BYO or no corkage policy.

There was some vigourous debate but in the end, we decided to go with Escargots and their famous Lobster Bisque as starters before the main event.

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Buttery rich with soft garlicky flavours. This blog could not taste the snails themselves as he was too busy mopping up the sauce with bread. The platters of snails came in greasy, messy and hot but left the table clean and dry with the copper buffed (by bread) to a high sheen.

The Lobster Bisque appeared in a really unappetizing brown sludge that brought lots of memori lessons of swamp missions to this blog.

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However, looks can be deceiving. This sparked off a discussion of the different Lobster Bisques in different parts of the world. Apparently, this used Lobster Butter hence the brown, yellowish color whereas the Lobster Bisques in the US use only cream and hence they are white in color.

For those who still remember, this was the same Lobster Bisque available at the Marco Polo Hotel (near Tanglin) which cost S$10 a serving at that time. And that was almost 25 years ago.

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It was very rich with small chunks of lobster. I feel that the butter added that depth and richness to the lobster that no other ingredient can. It filled the mouth with the warm taste of lobster long after the soup was consumed and the bowls cleared. It is no wonder that butter is the most important ingredient in French cooking.

I can’t wait to try the cream version.

The main course of grilled tenderloin arrive in a very simple meat and potatoes, no-nonsense arrangement.

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Prior to this, there was a discussion with Mrs. Lam about the possibility of not only getting the Argentinian beef but also their special prime rib. This blog was advised against it because their prime rib is meant for two on account of it being “very big!” according to Mrs. Lam. Ah well.

This blog was happy to receive a tenderloin that was slightly charred on the outside and nicely pink on the inside.

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The taste was greatly different from the US, New Zealand and Australian beef. It was richer, sweeter and beefier, almost but not quite like tasting liver.

Like all grass-fed beef, the texture is rough and grainy. It had more texture than the grain-fed US and Wagyu beef. For those looking to release their inner caveman, this is the beef for you; it’s chewier without becoming tedious as the juices and flavours fill the mouth with every bite.

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As you slowly chew and savour every morsel, you wonder, just how the ribeye would taste like…

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Dessert was a simple affair of their famous apple strudel. I am not a big fan of this as I always felt that it was always a little too dry.

However, Jeremy, Dessert Maestro, suggested a simple concoction of vanilla ice cream with a generous dollop of Pedro Ximénez.

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Plain Vanilla ice cream brought to life with rich luscious Pedro Ximénez (it’s a white grape from Spain, usually made into a Sherry or dessert wine) . Think of a slightly lighter Gula Melaka smothering the ice cream. Raisins and Molasses.

It was awesome, simply awesome. Consumed within seconds upon arrival, I believe all of us had seconds, some thirds. This is love. A wonderful finish to a wonderful dinner.

WeAllHadAGreatTimeAndTheArgentinianBeefIsAvailableForOneLastWeek and this hungry blog will end this entry right now as he is rushing off for more Argentinian love at Cafe de Amigo. Ciao.

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Posted on 13th Apr 2007 in Dead Cow Society, Food and Drink, Meat

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There Are 3 Comments

 

LiquidShaDow commented on April 13, 2007 at 2:52 pm


Hi Ivan,

The steak looks good. I’ve a few questions.

Is it going to be a permanent feature on the menu at Cafe de Amigo or is this just for that dinner for the DCS?

Could you also let us have an idea on the pricing for the steak?

BTW, I’m in agreement with your first 4 paragraphs.


 

Sam commented on April 20, 2007 at 2:26 am


hi ivan,

i’ve been reading your blog for sometime and i really have to say all the food looks really really good! and i think it’s really damn cool that you did the equation for the bacon sandwich.


 

Ivan commented on April 21, 2007 at 9:35 am


@Sam: Thanks! However, the equation was taken from an online article which provides a deeper background on it.


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