Dubai: It took over nine months and an 8,000 kilometre trip astride a rickety self-engineered motorcycle for the legendary Che Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado to explore the vastness of South America. For those who aren’t ready for such a bike ride yet, but have similar ambitions to discover the continent, a drive to La Parilla (The Grill in Spanish) at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel closer to home may help.
The restaurant on the 25th floor is lavishly decked up with every decor piece, from wall-hangings depicting tango steps to posters of salsa artistes, adding to the Latin American ambience. Yet it is the food here that takes you on a fascinating trail.
How do you start? Take off from the borders of Colombia and Venezuela with a cachapa, one of La Parilla’s best-selling entradas and a traditional corn dough and cheese crepe. A cult street food in both countries, it is soft, warm and literally a sweet start.
Touch down on Mexico next with flauta, a tapas made of crispy tortilla spring rolls that look like – just as the name suggests – flutes and stuffed with delicious BBQ chicken and blue cheese.
Let empanada introduce Argentina for you next. A homemade traditional baked pastry with cheese, onions, olives and chicken, the savoury delight comes with a mouthwatering roasted tomato. Do also try the langostino or prawns tempura with a coriander leaf batter served with a sweet rocoto pepper and tamarind sauce.
For the mains, an Argentine beef tenderloin (250gm) is highly recommended. Done medium rare in my case, it was served with cilantro aioli, a dollop of mojo - the Spanish herb butter - on top and the classic chimichurri sauce. Once you cut through the salty crusty exterior, what you get is a tender, juicy medium rare centre. The pollo parrillero or a grilled chicken breast (with peppercorn sauce) is a similar option for non-beef eaters.
End it with the most amazing Dulce de leche - or caramel parfait with lemon cream and crepe flakes that’s just too hard to miss.
Meal for two: Dh600
Location: Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Contact: 04-406 8897
We recommend: Cachapa, flauta, empanada, langostino, Argentinian tenderloin, dulce de leche
Ratings (out of 5):