Restaurant review: De La Panza, N1
Jon Dean samples traditional Argentinian fare
Argentinian food seems to be a firm favourite among London’s meat lovers, and it is easy to see why.
The south American nation are masters of the steak, no slouches with wine and offer a good line in spicy sausage.
Some can, however, be criticised for a slightly one-dimensional choice of food.
This is where De La Panza, a new Bodeg�n style eaterie on Southgate Road, comes into its own.
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The name translates as ‘all about the belly’, and the extensive menu draws on Argentina’s rich Spanish and Italian heritage. Tortillas, tarts, stews and steaks are all represented, and the tapas and minutas menu’s offer a cheaper
light bite option.
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De La Panza is decorated in a pleasing, cosy fashion, with high wooden stools at the bar and racks of wine surrounding the tables
It’s styled itself as a friendly, neighbourhood restaurant catering for the barrio of De Beaviour, and the young, Argentine staff are certainly very helpful - but does the food hit the spot?
Well, the sopa de pescado, a basque fish soup, was certainly a hearty affair. A blended concoction of vegetables and crustaceans, it was full of fishy flavour and got the taste buds going nicely.
The piquillo peppers stuffed with cod and bechamel sauce were tasty, but came out of the kitchen lukewarm, which was a little disappointing.
The grill soon brought a smile back to our faces though. The bife de lomo (fillet of beef) was cooked to perfection - a moist, juicy fist of tender steak that my knife went through like butter. It came with some fairly nondescript salad and a pot of some of the best Chimichurri sauce I have tasted. The accompanying chips were crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and the mashed potato warm and buttery.
Finally, the tarta de queso de la casa, a sweet cheesecake, was deliciously light and sugary.
De La Panza have made an effort to expand the range you would expect to find at an Argentinian restaurant, which they have succeeded in doing. However for all that, it is still the good fashioned old steak that’s the star of the show. What a star it is though, and De le Panza is should be a welcome addition to the area currently dominated by gastro pubs.