NOTE: Their sharing meat platters are fantastic, share with friends and a few sides, and don’t be fooled by the platter being for two, its got enough meat for four easily…
El Matador Cafe, Asador Grill and Bar is a recently opened Argentinian restaurant in the old Munchen Burgers space next door to Logan Brown.
El Matador had very quickly decided not to take bookings after the initial ones (we had booked thankfully being a bigger group) so if doing the bigger group thing, go early or late and be prepared to wait (not much waiting space).
There is an air of authenticity and charm about the place though which will take them a long way.
The service was fairly slow (they were very busy) and we had a Mexican waitress who was doing her first night ever, so probably a little nervous of a group of 7 asking questions about ingredients and dishes.
To summarise, several of the mains came out wrong, one or two a bit cool temperature-wise (the meat), the 6-hour cooked lamb dishes were not 6-hour tender, the sides of spinach and feta were spinach leaves only, one of the tapas ordered as an entree came at the same time as the main and a second never appeared, the boys who ordered tomato sides with their steak and potatoes got tomato but lost the potatoes etc etc.
To give credit, they provided complimentary empanadas to the boys who had to wait for their correct mains, and one somehow couldn’t take offence as the place had a buzzy vibe and they are clearly trying hard amongst the initial swamp of activity.
The desserts were superb in taste and interest (and price at $8 – $10), and definitely uplifted everyone’s experience, with the favoured desserts being Quemado oranges with almond brittle ice cream (very good but alas well inhaled before I could photograph!) and panqueques con dulce de leche (pancakes with caramel) (simple but delicious, also a breakfast option).
Unexpectedly there are more NZ wines on the menu than South American, with a few Spanish and French thrown in. So being a white drinker I tried the Argentinian Trivento Torrontes 2010 and found it rather pleasant.
Overall? A revisit in 3 months or so to see how they’re coping. Keep an eye out and take advantage of their specials (tapas Tuesdays, wine Wednesdays, Fugazzeta Fridays) and maybe focus on tapas and desserts there as the more interesting offerings.
196 Cuba Street
And a breakfast image taken at a later time. Pretty fine..