Review: Fiesta del Asado, Birmingham

Fiesta del Asado, part of the Lasan group, is a hot new Argentine restaurant in Birmingham which opened around 6 months ago. I've been desperate to go for ages and was delighted when they recently invited me to eat there. So, last Saturday, the hubby and I headed over to see what it was all about.

A few years ago I visited Argentina with one of my best friends and as any meat eater who's been there will know - the steak is out of this world. We spent time in Buenos Aires before catching an overnight coach to the beautiful wine region of Mendoza, then finally ended our trip at the glaciers in the very bottom tip of the country. It was a holiday of a lifetime for me and I have nothing but fond memories of the places, the people and most importantly, the food. Once you've eaten steak in Argentina, nothing will ever compare. Fiesta had a high bar to jump over!

A flash back to the steaks of my Argentinian travels!
The hubby and I arrived at 7:20pm to find a smart yet casual restaurant which was bigger than I expected and well over half full. Quirky details gave it a real Spanish/ Argentinian feel such as the meats hanging on the wall, the dressers and crockery on display and the bare brick walls. We sat at the bar, which is made up of old draw fronts (v cool) and ordered some wine. I was pleased to see a great selection of Argentinian wines (which is as it should be!) and a range of Malbec reds to choose from. I absolutely love Malbec and the one we opted for was smoky and rich. Perfect for steak.

Our table was in the left hand side of the restaurant and opposite the open kitchen. The smells and sounds of the grill filled the air and really helped create a casual atmosphere.

To start we went for Salchichas al Parrilla (grilled spicy sausage with tomato and red onion salad and chimichurri) and from the choice of flavours we went for the Chistorra Artysan which was a traditional paprika & garlic combo. We also had the Gambas al ajillo - yup, you guessed it - that's king prawns tossed in chilli and garlic. The sausage was absolutely delicious, full of flavour and totally moreish. The prawns were delicious too although not quite as exciting.

For mains, we chose to eat from the Parilla menu. Parilla basically means grill or BBQ and this style of cooking is something I saw all the time when I was in Argentina. Being greedy as we are, we went for the Bife de Ancho - a 38oz prime rib eye steak. We ordered veg and roast potatoes with paprika and oregano on the side.

Apologies for the poor photography but behold the mighty Bife! This wasn't for the faint hearted and there are plenty of other options on the menu including fish and poultry but for me, if you're dining in an Argentine Asado, its got to be about the steak.The chimmichurri was divine, not too spicy and full of flavour and there was also a rich Malbec sauce and smooth and creamy Bearnaise.

Although I was fairly stuffed, the hubby convinced me to go for a pud and we opted for the two recommended by the waiter. Churros and chocolate sauce and a Chocolate fondant with Dulce de Leche ice cream. Dulce De Leche is a kind of toffee sauce and the ice cream was heavenly. By far the best ice cream I've eaten in a very long time! The fondant was perfect, like something from a MasterChef final - and the churros were gone before I'd finished my Frangelico aperitif.

The bill would have been around £100 which was for 3 courses, wine and an aperitif. After we'd finished eating, I had a great conversation with the waiter about the steak they serve. The steak we had was messy, it was on the bone and had some gnarly bits - and that's just how it should be. Its authentic. They've spent time researching how steak is cooked - and what steak is cooked - in Argentina and the result is a very authentic experience. You might not find a neatly shaped sirloin on your plate with perfect crisscross char grilled lines on it but I can guarantee that you will eat fantastic food akin to the best restaurants in Buenos Aires. And so what if you get a bit round your mouth? Its all part of the fun!

*Our meal at Fiesta del Asado was complimentary but my opinions are my own.

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