When I go out for a steak, I see it as a special occasion. This is not because it’s a rare occurrence, nor because there aren’t enough steakhouses in Hong Kong. There’s just something about a good steak that is hard to beat, and this is something I think should be respected. Black Sheep group is known for going all out with its restaurant concepts and hitting the nail on the head every time. This could not be more true of the group’s latest concept, Buenos Aires Polo Club, an Argentinan steakhouse in Lan Kwai Fong.
As the name suggests, Buenos Aires Polo Club aims to be more of an elite members’ club than your average steakhouse, yet not in a pretentious, stuffy way. It is inspired by the Buenos Aires of the 1900s, as well as, of course, the beautiful game of polo. The décor clearly encapsulates this, with displays of antique polo equipment and stunning equestrian-themed oil paintings on every wall. The luxurious space, which it’s hard to believe was formerly Boqueria, is split into a comfortable bar and lounge area, the main restaurant, and a couple of private dining rooms. Stepping inside, you certainly get that feeling that you’re part of an inner circle and, despite having never been there before, we immediately felt as if we were being welcomed back to “our” clubhouse.
Before being seated in the restaurant, be sure to stop at the bar for a pre-dinner cocktail. I realised we were well into June and I had not yet had a glass of Pimm’s this year, so I rectified that with The Polo Cup, a refreshing blend of Pimm’s and ginger topped up with Champagne.
Argentina is known for its grills, where pretty much everything can be thrown on the barbecue and grilled to perfection. BA Polo Club’s menu is therefore inspired by this concept. Naturally, Argentinian steaks are the star of the show here, but there are a number of other delicious traditional Argentinian delicacies to get stuck into. We began our feast with the Provoletta, a cast-iron skillet with gooey, melted provolone and fontina cheese that was utterly delicious.
The chicken empanada was easily one of the best empanadas I’ve tried in Hong Kong – and you remember how much I raved about Gaucho’s version! The pastry, although deep-fried, was fluffy and light, whilst the chicken beneath was tender, juicy and very flavoursome. The accompanying roasted pepper salsa was the perfect complement.
There’s bacon, and then there’s BA Polo Club’s wood-smoked bacon. This thick hunk of pork belly is cured with gin and juniper for three days, before being slow-roasted over the hot grill for 20 hours, then basted in chimichurri, resulting in smoky, tender amazingness that will leave you speechless.
Argentina’s cows are predominantly grass-fed, which means the beef is leaner, less marbled and has a richer, meatier flavour. We shared the 20oz bone-in New York strip, or bife de chorizo, as it would be called in Argentina. At BA Polo Club, the steaks are all rubbed in the kitchen’s secret dry rub, before being charred on the outside and perfectly medium-rare inside. I’ve eaten a lot of steak in my time, and this was definitely up there amongst the best I have tried.
What makes the steak even more special are the knives. Each guest is given a unique steak knife with which to attack their meat. Regular customers will get their own knife, stored in a cabinet in one of the private dining rooms. We are now determined to be part of that elite group! Our ‘his and hers’ knives are pictured above – don’t let the tiny blade deceive you, as that was one mighty sharp knife!
We teamed our steak with a side of duck fat fries Provenzal, which were way too good, especially dipped in the accompanying Malbec mustard and chimichurri. The garlic creamed spinach was initially far too salty to palate. I made a comment (not a complaint, mind!) to the staff, who quickly replaced it with another, and it was much better second time round.
If ever you can’t decide between two desserts, just get both and promise to not finish them. If you then break that promise, then at least you’re complimenting the chef! We tried both the roasted pineapple and the dulce de leche cup, and polished them both off without looking back. The former had a hint of charred flavour, which paired wonderfully with the refreshing pineapple, coconut sorbet and passion fruit compote.
The dulce de leche cup was not quite what we were expecting, yet it was absolutely mind-blowing. Hidden within the buttery dulce de leche was a dollop of Greek yoghurt, which nicely balanced the richness of the dessert. Crumbled frozen raspberries and house-made puffed rice were sprinkled on top, which brought it all together and added a lovely crunch.
Our bill, including a beautiful bottle of Malbec, came to around HKD2,000 for the two of us. Obviously that’s not a cheap meal, yet actually the steak itself ($498 for 20oz) is possibly one of the best-valued steaks we’ve found in HK. Service was exceptional – granted the restaurant wasn’t too busy, but the staff (Rosie and Rodrigo in particular) knew every little detail about the menu and the restaurant, and took the time to explain everything to us, showing a genuine interest in what they do. I was expecting Buenos Aires Polo Club to be good, but I was blown away by quite how good it was. I think this has become our favourite steakhouse in the city and we most certainly intend on going back and hopefully one day owning our own BA Polo Club steak knives!
Buenos Aires Polo Club
7/F, LKF Tower
33 Wyndham Street
Tel: +852 2321 8681