Stacked in on a very, very average strip of Camden High Street near Mornington Crescent is one of the loveliest (and, let’s be honest, few) Argentine restaurants in London. Ignore the drabish brown exterior and you find yourself in La Patagonia’s tiny little world of rural Argentina, complete with all the estancia-style trimmings – gaucho blankets, straw-topped chairs and exposed brick walls. You won’t notice any of it, though, at least not at first, thanks to the overwhelming smell of coal-charred meats emanating from La Patagonia’s open asado (grill) in the tiny kitchen at the back.
Owned and operated by actual Argentines (which helps), La Patagonia is the brainchild of an Argentine-Brit who wanted to bring the food his parents ate to London. And thank god, because this stuff is seriously good and, quite frankly, better value than many other restaurants in London. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but the churrasco (grilled ribeye steak) is a particular highlight, as is the Milanesa Classica, which is a thin, perfectly formed beef steak done escalope – not unlike a schnitzel. And the empanadas, or savoury pastries cooked in a clay oven, could make you forget your Cornish pasties forever.
All of this is served with a healthy but affordable dose of Malbec and the song of Argentine Spanish ringing amongst the staff really sets the tone for what is easily one of the best kept secrets on the London restaurant scene.