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Moo Steakhouse: Argentinian Hospitality With London Elegance

The Argentines have a passion for steak and a visit to Soho’s new Moo Steakhouse, the younger sister to the Pimlico gastropub, demonstrates why they are masters of the charcoal grill…

Photo: Moo Cantina

Quincho is the word for a special space in Argentinian homes where the charcoal grill welcomes friends and family to enjoy good food and wine. Moo recreates this warm atmosphere with a dash of London elegance in its new Steakhouse found amid the brash neon of Wardour Street in Soho.

The building itself was originally The Intrepid Fox pub, named after the UK’s first foreign secretary in1784. Moo’s owners have kept the historic exterior, but inside we find a cool, contemporary stylish space with a central kitchen and a pared back relaxed ambience.

Exposed brick walls, foliage, clean design and emerald green seating provide a neutral backdrop for the restaurant’s superb Argentinian food and wine.

The owner Hernan Palacios was at the helm the night I visited and I was able to watch him work his steak magic in the kitchen, recreating that Quincho feel with a pacy London vibe.

After a refreshing mojito for me and a classic old fashioned for my husband, we set the scene for the meal with some dainty appetisers.

Tasty empanadas were tiny beef and spinach filled pastries and beef croquettes pretty mouthfuls of meat with aoili. With our taste buds awakened we turned to the main attraction, the steak.

All the meat is from ethically raised, grass fed Black Argentine cattle from the Argentinian Pampas. Restaurant manager Antonio directed us to the entrana, the Argentine’s favourite cut of meat. It is a long flat flavoursome cut not familiar to us, but a great discovery.

Cooked to perfection, it melts in the mouth. More familiar cuts were rib eye, sirloin and fillet, so we sampled some of those as well. All the steaks are available to share which is a great way of tasting the different cuts and you can choose the size of your steak depending on your appetite.

Tiny bowls of chimichurri and other sauces are available, but we felt the meat needed no accompaniment other than the recommended heavenly bottle of La Mascota Malbec from Mendoza.

Both the general manager Mario and restaurant manager Antonio were attentive and informative. I asked how the chef achieves such a perfect flavour and was told the meat is salted and then cooked quickly on the charcoal.

Our steaks came with sweet potato fries and a crisp rocket and parmesan salad, but we could have added triple cooked fries and roasted vegetables.

It seems a shame to come to Moo and not eat steak, but the menu includes burgers, salads and fish for those who want them.

Our steak was a difficult act to follow, but we were tempted by the dessert menu and opted for the Flan Casero, the Argentine take on crème caramel and a classic crepe with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Restaurant manager Mario introduced us to his Don Palacio creation – a digestif made with egg white, port, lemon and cognac which provided a colourful finishing flourish to a meal full of South American flavour.

The background music changed as the night went on, reflecting the change of pace and customer.

Moo attracts a wide clientele, from a young after work professional cocktail set to sophisticated steak lovers savouring every mouthful and lingering over that glass of Malbec. And I imagine that the Soho film and media crowd will be letting their creative juices flow over long leisurely steak lunches here.

Address: 99 Wardour Street, Soho, W1F 0UF
Website: moocantina.co.uk