The secret behind the perfect Argentine steak
Just like a really good suit, a beautiful piece of meat cooked over charcoal on an Argentine Parrilla, also has a significant history behind it. As long as man has been wearing suits and possibly even slightly before then, he has been cooking meat over fire and coals. This is because there are a host of evolutionary advantages that man has benefited from, owing to the taming of fire and its use in cooking. However, the one big upside that really gets an excited grunt from the latent caveman inside is the aroma and instinctually gratifying taste of chargrilled beef. It’s likely there weren’t any scientists around at the time of the first caveman cook up; there was nobody to explain the Maillard chemical reaction that was occurring in the wooly mammoth rib-eyes they were flaming. Yet they didn’t need to know the exact science behind what was happening to be fairly sure they had stumbled upon something significant.
Since those early days man has been perfecting the art of rearing, butchering and grilling beef. In one part of the world they figured it out early on and have stuck to it wholeheartedly. This particular part of the world is Argentina, where, fortunately, somebody let a few Brazilian cows and a couple of bulls loose on their vast central grasslands known as the pampas a half a millennia or so ago.
The original cowboys or ‘Gauchos’ as they are called in Argentina didn’t have fancy kitchens or even any other ingredients with which to try and ruin the delicious grass-fed beef they had in such abundant supply. In fact they didn’t have any kitchens at all. What they did have was fire, salt and very rustic makeshift steel grills called Parrillas - all the ingredients necessary for an amazing steak. Still today, the typical Argentine Parrilla looks strikingly similar to their counterparts from yesteryear.
In Australia we don’t have the pampas but we do have some of the richest and greenest pastures of anywhere in the world. Perfectly suited to grazing cattle, the nutrient rich grasses of Victoria’s Gippsland region produce what is renowned as some of the highest quality pasture-fed beef available in the world.
These days you can get all sorts of cows, fed on all kinds of grains and cooked on almost any number of modern kitchen contraptions, which is all well and good, especially if you don’t know any better. However, if you want to know better, and know what the world’s best natural grass-fed beef tastes like, cooked over hardwood coals using the unadulterated, age-perfected techniques of the Argentine Parrilla, then make your way in to San Telmo and treat yourself to something truly extraordinary. Perfect for groups (they have a unique and sumptuous private dining area) as well as more intimate dinner dates - and fear not, there are plenty of great options for the non meat eaters as well as an exceptional wine list.
San Telmo is located on Meyers Place in the Melbourne CBD.