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A glorious gaucho-style feast in Chalong

Both an expat haven and a popular choice for tourists, Asado Gaucho Grill packs their menu with a plethora of choices – the key here is versatility!


Jean-Pierre Mestanza

Thursday 9 March 2017, 12:00PM


It’s the latest establishment to join the popular Sunrise Rd strip near Chalong Pier and would a great spot for a date, but it’s equally good for big groups wanting to have a “catch-up” with friends.

From the sides to the main courses to the vintages and appetisers, Asado has fine-tuned the menu for even the pickiest eater.

Whether it’s a quick bite at the bar (washed-down with premium drink selections) or a hearty dinner fit for a gaucho (in case you didn’t know, gaucho is an Argentinian word for cowboy, and asado means barbecue).

It all starts with the appetiser menu, which includes several share plates as well as individual servings. We started our dinner off with the grilled portobello mushroom stuffed with cream cheese and Parmesan cheese (you can never have enough cheese!) along with some recommendations from co-owner Aaron – the chorizo sausage and melted Camembert cheese with berry compote on the side.

If the appetisers were any indication, the mains were going to be something special.

While the portobello was light and flavourful, the chorizo delivered a chilli/paprika kick, but without any hint of the usual oiliness from this type of sausage.

The Camembert, meanwhile, was a real treat – perfectly melted so we could spread it on bread and contrasted with sweet berries.

Cheese with fruit paste is a popular snack in South America. The blend of French cheese and Spanish-inspired appetisers is no accident.

Aaron, along with co-owner Steven Smith are long-time expats with years of experience in the food business, having owned several restaurants and bars over the years.

It wasn’t until they brought in their third partner, Simon Besagni, that things finally took off and Asado Gaucho Grill was born.

“While we’ve been talking about doing this, the final decision was bit of a spur-of-the-moment thing,” Aaron told The Phuket News.

“We wanted to go a notch above the norm, do something different in Phuket. So when this space became available, we had to get it.”

The first thing diners notice at Asado is the huge traditional Argentinian-style parrilla, or grill, where hungry diners can see their meats grilled over the hot coals before they are served up.

The décor has a touch of an Old World feeling too, with antique sewing machine benches as tables and exposed brick walls.

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“Steak was always the primary idea, the grill kind of led us in a Latin way, then pulled back and brought in a couple of French sauces, so now you have many choices,” Steven says.

The beauty of their system lies in its simplicity and versatility: Choose your steak, choose your three sides (or load up on one or two of your favourites) then choose your sauce.

Take the New Zealand tenderloin, for instance, cooked rare for this occasion with a side of polenta and Parmesan herb fries (you read that right), mixed bean salad, garden salad, and a Béarnaise sauce.

The steak’s bold flavour really jumps out at you – it’s a welcome reminder of what steak is supposed to taste like!

My friend ordered a 300 gram flank steak prepared medium rare with a peppercorn sauce, polenta and herb fries with a side of mashed potatoes.

The tender steak has a bit of charring that really brings the whole thing together. The fluffy potatoes were almost pillow-like and complemented by the fries that, when dipped in the creamy sauce, you would swear could cure blindness.

Washed down with some choice vintages, it’s a world-class dinner of champions, but without all the pretentious fluff that would usually accompany such an fine meal.

It’s a local restaurant with the feel of something more upscale and it won’t break your budget.

“We pay attention to details and if the meat isn’t up to what we want it to be, we don’t use it,” Steven says – and it shows.

Foodies, you have a new home.

 

Asado Gaucho Grill. Sunrise Road, Chalong (The road to Chalong Pier)

Open daily 4pm til midnight. Visit: Facebook.com/AsadoGauchoGrill

Visit theri TripAdvisor page here.

 

 

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