When I first moved to Battersea, my housemate gave me the tour of the local area. What began as a long list of fabulous places to explore, shortened pretty abruptly when we went past the restaurant Santa Maria Del Sur. We were both glued to the window, gawping at the fat juicy steak chargrilling on the open grill, or parilla as they’re called in South America and the handsome Latino chef casually flipping them over. Said chef looked slightly amused by us, gave us a cheeky smile and ushered us in. Sold.
The phenomenal steak restaurant that is Santa Maria Del Sur, an Argentinian restaurant run entirely by Argentinians that specialises in flame grilled meat and hearty red wines. The restaurant won Gordon Ramseys F-word last year, just after the first time I went. The F-word gives awards to local eats who offer their clientele something different, special and grounded. This restaurant is exactly that. It offers a fantastic experience built around delicious simply cooked food, the trick being that everything on offer isn’t played with. The ingredients are top quality and stand our for themselves, sometime enhanced with some fresh parsley, a slither of red pepper or a simple tomato and coriander salsa.
The steak was (on both occasions) probably the best I’ve eaten. I’ve been to Argentina and apart from the prices and not being offered it by a gaucho in a poncho, the quality and freshness is comparable. The fillet was thick, smooth, smoky and rich and cut like velvet. The inside was pink and juicy whilst the outside remained slightly cripsy and caramelised. Each slice encouraged more and more salty and meaty juice to come trickling out, the perfect accompaniment to triple cooked crispy chips. To start, there was chorizo, firey and crumbly and empanadas, deep fried pastry parcels filled with spiced spinach and ricotta, fresh and fragrant. This was all set in warm candlelight washed down with top-class full bodied red wine from Malbec. The meal for two came to £70 for two starters, fillet steaks (only £18 each) with chips and a side salad that we really didn’t need..I always try to sneak some green into my meals..and a bottle of wine.
Only thing is we had to book a table 2 months in advance for my second visit.. The F-word may have not changed the quality, but sure has upped its popularity so always book in advance.
Santa Maria Del Sur
Queenstown Road, Battersea, SW8.