Buenos Aires Polo Club is the Argentinian steakhouse and martini bar that has occupied the seventh floor of LKF Tower in Central since 2016. Chef Jack Carson has just taken the reins, so to speak, and is overseeing the brand-new weekend Club Brunch ($588/person). The brunch centres around an enormous double-cooked and blackened USDA prime rib, but it also includes a tremendous seafood platter for two.
A noticeable hallmark of all Black Sheep Restaurants is the attention to detail given to interior design. This restaurant feels like a stylish basement speakeasy where a lunchtime brunch can seem like a late-night dinner (remember those?). The atmosphere amongst the wood and leather interior with soft lighting is immersive – no distracting windows looking to the pesky outside world – and the enticing twinkle of martini glasses at the bar is unmissable and, as it turns out, irresistible.
Optional with the brunch (but highly recommended) is the three martini pairing ($148/person). We sipped on a refreshing gin martini (shaken, not stirred) with a lemon twist alongside the seafood starter, moved to a dirty martini with olive brine with our main and finally ended with an impressive espresso martini for dessert. The bartender is able to whip up a wet, dry or dirty martini in the style you prefer, but we wouldn’t change a thing about ours. If espresso martinis are of particular interest, it’s worth a special trip here just to try this one.
We should note that the couple next to us were raving about their bottle of Argentinian Malbec, so there are plenty of other drink options to explore.
This was supposed to be all about the prime rib, so were surprised when the seafood platter arrived. This is a high-quality platte to share between two, showcasing a whole poached Boston lobster, oysters, prawns, scallops and a small jar of Spanish Avruga/Arënkha “caviar” from wild herrings fished in the cold waters of the Northern Sea.
We noticed that care had been taken to shuck the oysters brine in, and they were divine. The Argentinian prawns are served chilled, but they retain their chargrilled smokiness. The jar of creamy “fish pearls” is not caviar from sturgeon, but these mild and smoky fish eggs do look and taste a lot like it. There was plenty to go around, and we thoroughly enjoyed our decadent mix-and-match seafood adventure.
Still on the starters, the French toast was prepared in fiery fashion. Thick-cut bacon and cheese inside the “club-rubbed” bread was flambéed tableside, with the flames reaching the ceiling. Only the gaucho omeletette disappointed us, being heavily salted. It seemed like an unnecessary filler, with plenty still to come.
You might ask whether the steak is abnormally large or if the server presenting it is extremely small, and we can assure you she is of normal stature. This is the centrepiece of the brunch experience: a USDA prime rib that has been slow-cooked in the oven for 15 hours at low temperature, rested and then blast-charred to achieve a blackened crust. This long preparation time is the reason you need to book this brunch 48 hours in advance.
After slicing (done tableside), the meat looks incredibly rare, but it does not bleed. The long, slow cook time changes the texture even though the colour remains red. This takes a little getting used to, but the meat can also be touched up to your liking. Order the horseradish to go with and bring your leftovers home with you.
The serving of fries provenzal (duck-fat fries with garlic and parsley) would have been perfect had they been served alone, but we could not finish them. And try to remember to request the salad with dressing on the side, because you really need something light to accompany the enormous steak.
Chef Josef Gallenberger showed us how it’s done, sautéing thin crêpes in a criminal amount of butter and finishing them with two boozy flambés. Somehow we finished it all, even fishing out the last strips of candied orange peel and caramel from the decadent sauce.
The new Club Brunch at Buenos Aires Polo Club is a must-try event if you like either big steaks or great martinis. It’s priced mid-range, competing with high-end, all-you-can-eat buffet-style brunches for your booking. This is not all you can eat, but you will be offered more than enough, and considering what we know about the cost of the ingredients used, it’s extremely good value. We are told some of the minor details will be changed in order to balance each course – perhaps they will modify the salad and/or the omelette – but the seafood and prime rib will stay.
Of course, we can’t leave without saying something about the theatrics. Eating here makes you feel like you’re travelling first class, with tableside service, personal attention and lots of small touches. The staff have done a wonderful job making the Club Brunch an occasion to remember.
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.