A former mechanic’s shop might not sound like the most auspicious place to find one of Buenos Aires’ most popular new restaurants, but it works. Proper is a sensation. They are really cooking with fire here – literally. A wood-fired oven dominates the kitchen, and helps chefs Leo Lanussol and Augusto Mayer create the food that’s drawing punters from around the city to the Palermo neighbourhood.
The style at Proper is rustic, and the plates are small and seriously packed with flavour. You might think, on hearing about the wood-fired oven, that the dishes would be protein-heavy, the menu practically dripping with carnivorous intentions. But think again. There might be perfectly grilled sausages on the menu one day, but there’ll also be a dish like smoked sweet potatoes on a bed of kale, served sprinkled with hazelnuts and Patagonian blue cheese. Diners might find lightly dressed green tomato salad, or boquerones. Fresh-baked bread or dulce du leche.
For all their use (and obvious love) of cooking over flames, they have a light, inspired touch. And one that has beguiled the locals. So much so that you’ll want to get there before your hunger gets the better of you because they don’t take reservations.