Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

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Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my restaurant experiences, and views on food, with you.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Restaurant

La Brasa
108a Croydon High Street
Croydon

Phone:- 0208 760 9610

Overview

La Brasa has been open for some two years now, owned and managed by Cesar Rodriguez. It comprises a cosy Argentinean restaurant, with a rural atmosphere, on the ground floor.

Eva, I and Kajsa (Eva’s daughter) visited it last Saturday, one of many evenings we have spent there over the last two years; each visit has been highly enjoyable.

Ambience

The restaurant is decorated in a rural Argentinean style, wood predominates the décor but not in an oppressive manner. A homely touch is added by the variety Argentinean “nic nacks” that are placed throughout the restaurant. The atmosphere suits all types of occasions from romantic dinners to parties.

The background music is an eclectic mixture of Latino, Abba and Tom Jones, played at a volume to suit the mood of the guests. Indeed, as the evening progresses people are encouraged to salsa with each other or the staff. As regards closing time, it is flexible, one evening we left at 3:00AM and I have heard a story of a party that went on to 5:00AM; in other words the restaurant operates on the relaxed Latin principle of staying open until the last customer leaves. We had an early evening leaving sat 1:30AM!

When we arrived we were very warmly welcomed by Cesar and his wife. I would point out that all customers, be they new or regulars, are equally warmly welcomed. The restaurant was busy and it is necessary to book. However, you can take a chance; one group of people arrived at 11.30PM and were given a table.

Menu

The restaurant offers a menu comprising Argentinean specialities such as steak with chimichurri sauce (a spicy medley of amongst others, coriander, tomatoes and parsley), chicken empanadas (a sort of chicken pasty), sea bass and a seafood paella.

Service

We were warmly greeted and shown to our table. The service is attentive, friendly but not intrusive.

Food

I started with corn on the cob with melted butter, this consisted of two good sized cobs which had been chargrilled. It was well cooked, and an enjoyable tactile experience to eat; of course you have to use your hands.

I followed on with half a chargrilled chicken with two fried eggs. The chicken was succulent and properly cooked, I did the dish justice and used my fingers at the end to pick the bones clean it was really good.

I rounded off the meal with an Irish coffee, which was hot and well presented.

Eva started with sauté calamares which were generous in quantity and succulent to eat, she thoroughly enjoyed them. Her main course choice was chicken breast with asparagus and banana in a cream sauce, her dish of choice on many occasions. Although the combination may sound unusual, it does work; and contains a good sized portion of chicken breasts.

Eva also had an Irish coffee, no room for a dessert either!

Kajsa started with the feta cheese salad; a very large bowl of, amongst others, feta cheese, avocado and lettuce. She felt that it was almost a meal in itself. She followed on with a quarter chargrilled chicken (no fried eggs!) which, like mine, was well cooked yet succulent. She had a hot pancake filled with ice cream in a fruit sauce for dessert, which she was very pleased with.

We all dipped into a large bowl of thick cut pomme frites, as the accompanying side dish. These are always cooked to a consistently high standard, and in no way resemble the fat injected cardboard “French fries” served by other establishments.

The overall meal, which included two bottles of a sauvignon blanc, came to £71 before tip; good value in my opinion.

Overall Opinion

Definitely one of our favourite restaurants; ten out of ten for service, atmosphere and food. I have absolutely no negative comments to make about it!


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