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“Take lots of photos! We love a photo shoot!”
Tasting menus and addresses only released upon booking are the whole rage in Buenos Aires. In the UK, wine lists start with white and end with red. The opposite is true in Argentina. A locked gate keeps the hoi polloi at bay at i Latina, a “Cocina Latino Americana” restaurant. i Latina is open for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday and brunch on Sunday. The tasting menu costs 1,600 Argentine pesos; wine pairing, 900; a margarita 180; and sparking water is 120. That’s 2,800 pesos without tip, or just over £120. Not cheap, but for one of South America’s top restaurants, not budget busting either. “A glass of Laborum 2016. Let’s do it on the house!”
“This building is 200 years old.”
It turns out we’ve saved the best till last. i Latina will prove to be Buenos Aires‘ finest restaurant. And it’s not like the competition ain’t hot. i Latina is in Villa Crespo, a neighbourhood fast becoming a dining destination. It opened in 2012 and kick started those two Buenos Aires’ signature trends: small plates and closed door policy. Once the white pillared gate is unlocked, the evening begins. Walk along a chessboard path, walk past white painted cast iron furniture, walk under a candlelit birdcage, walk through the open glazed door.
“The owners have adopted a stray cat they found nearby.”
A psychedelic parrot painted on the bathroom wall looks like it escaped from the birdcage. Colour doesn’t end there. We’ll eat off blue spoons and mustard plates; watercress leaves (yes, green), carrots (yes, orange), horse radishes (definitely red) with purple and yellow petals decorating the courses to come. “This is typical of Mexico – spicy and sweet.” It’s a family affair. Laura Macías designed the interior; her brother Santiago is Head Chef; and third sibling Camilo manages front of house.
“Coconut is used so much in Columbian and Ecuadorian food.”
- Amuse bouche: mint syrup
- First course: shredded carrots and coconut cilantro sauce
- Pinot Noir Chardonnay Extra Brut
- Second course: (Nikkei ceviche) crispy sweet shrimp, sole and caramelised octopus in leche de tigre
- Parasira Torrontés 2015
- Third course: (Encocado) catch of the day, squid and coconut
- Gran Reserva Escorihuela Gascón, Agreol, Mendoza
- Fourth course: corn tortilla and black beans
- Valle del Pedernal Pyros Wines, San Juan
- Amuse bouche: Columbian seeds and Venezuelan hearts of palm
- Fifth course: silverside fish
- Angélica Zapata Alta Malbec 2013
- Sixth course: (Cocoa) cocoa truffle and nibs from Tumaco with sea salt and olive oil
- Bodega Caelum, Luján de Cuyo Valle de Uco, Mendoza
- Seventh course: (Chamoy) grapefruit, mint and rum sorbet
- Cachun Nuvola Docle, Appassito Malbec 2013
- Final course: ceremonial coffee, coffee macaroons and passion fruit jellies
“The creamy coffee is hand picked grain by grain.”
Somewhere and somehow between pudding and coffee we end up in the kitchen. The chefs line up, striking poses, full of the joys; a grand finale, we’re half expecting some high kicks. “Where’s the pastry chef?” they frantically chorus and a pretty girl appears from nowhere with knowhow to join in the fun. If this is hospitality Patagonia style, a super supper club (Puerto Cerrado), we’re converts.
“Go to Columbia!”
7 replies on “i Latina Restaurant Buenos Aires + Lavender’s Blue”
Food looks and sounds exquisite. A treat for the palate.
What a fantastic restaurant it is.
i Latina is the perfect mix of fab food, surroundings and staff.
Thank you very much for sharing your piece with us! We are very glad to know you had a fantastic time at i Latina and you enjoyed visiting the kitchen and meeting our chefs.
I shared the photos with the team and they all loved them. Welcome anytime!
Thanks so much for your email. The whole evening was dreamy and your staff were hilarious. Looking forward to our next visit!
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