Home > Buenos Aires, Food > NYE at La Maison

NYE at La Maison

BBC online at midnight GMT

Got dressed, watched the London fireworks on the mac, cracked open a bottle of champagne, and after polishing it off headed down to La Maison six blocks away. This was at 9.30 pm and the streets were deserted! So much so that I thought we might have got the time wrong and had to pull out my phone to check! Even the restaurants looked deserted with not even a whiff of a waiter.

With dread rising through the tummy we walked into our chosen restaurant for NYE, and relax, there were lots of people sat at tables. We got a lovely little table by the bougainvillea and another champagne bottle was cracked open! On my right sat a foursome, an American and a Dutch couple. On my left, another couple and about half way through my meal, I realised there was a little dog sat behind the couple. They must have seen our surprise and introduced themselves as well as their canine friend. The lady wass Argentine who married the Norwegian man she was dining with about 4 years ago. They were sad because they will be leaving Argentina for Norway for three years in order for her to get a Norwegian citizenship. However their long haired dog will be happier in cooler climates!

The trio starter

To the meal then, and soon after the champagne we got on to d’Amuse Bouche menu. Kicking off with a trio of tasters imbued with truffle – delicate slices of a white fish ceviche rubbed with truffle oil; a tiny baby squid stuffed with a subtle ratatouille of vegetables and a hint of truffle; and last but not least the delicious almeja – a clam in it’s shell with parsley and garlic sauce and grilled with a topping of breadcrumbs and parmesan. The waiter had not prescribed the order in which each of the trio was to be eaten however the order I chose unintentionally worked very well to allow the separate flavours to come through, getting stronger from the delicate ceviche to the garlic and parmesan clam.

A sip of the lovely blush champagne sealed the promise of a great next course and after a respectable time to digest the first course we were served with what looked like a crab salad but on closer inspection, the crab was in fact some sort of a large shelled langoustine. A look at the menu didn’t much shed light as this dish was written in French – Araignee de Terre et Mer. I don’t speak French but guessed that this translated as ‘spider of the land and sea’. Perhaps it was some sort of a spider crab. And as it was served with shavings of long green vegetables, perhaps this was the chef’s ‘poetic license’. Either way, the salad was light and delectable, dressed delicately to balance the subtle flavour of crab/langoustine flesh with shavings of vegetables which were cooked el dente.

Our table at La Maison

Although neither the trio in the first course, nor the salad in the second course was excessive by any means – contrasting with the usual Argentine parilla fare where a half portion is usually enough for a small family! – I felt nicely full and needed a break of 20 minutes or so to fill the champagne glass up and reminisce about past NYEs with friends in London. We were granted our wish and when the main course arrived, we were looking forward to it!

Merluza Negra con Chantilly de Trufa Negra y Vegetales is a mouthful and certainly was a delicious one! I did some research on what Merluza Negra is and it seems it has a number of names – Patagonian Toothfish, Chilean Seabass and Black Hake to name  just a few. It was a fleshy white fish and we were served with a fillet of it grilled to perfection. The fish was served with a chantilly of truffle, steamed vegetables and sprinklings of black truffle around the plate. A bite of this fish loaded with the chantilly cream and a sprinkle of truffle was the best fish morsel I have tasted – ever!

Watching fireworks outside the restaurant

So engrossed had we been with our main course that it wasn’t til our plates were taken away that we looked at the clock and realised it was 5 minutes to midnight. We refilled our champagne glasses and I stood up to cheer happy new year. At exactly the same time the fireworks started cracking up outside and all the diners got up and rushed outside. For the next half an hour we all craned our necks to look at the fireworks above the canopy of trees that Palermo is enveloped in. As with Christmas Eve, and very unlike London, children were letting off fireworks horizontally down the street and a couple of times I had to swerve to miss the trajectory of an oncoming rocket! It was fun however and everyone clinked glasses with each other and wished Felice Navidad!

As the din of the fireworks started to recede, people remembered where they were and headed back to the restaurant and their tables. It was a great feeling that in a city where people are always trying to warn you about muggings and robbery, the entire restaurant left with their handbags, phones, valuables etc all on the table and it was all still there when we got back!

Back at the table with more champagne we were served the dessert. Now my friend Lisa will tell you that we don’t like sweet things, but this looked light and manageable and at the price we were paying for this meal I wasn’t going to not give it a try! Tour chocolatee was a wafer with white chocolate ice cream inside topped with a dark chocolate mousse. It was lovely and I licked the plate. No, I lie, that was Craig!

For the Cafe Gourmand, I asked for a whiskey with my coffee. The whiskey came in a tumbler and was full to the brim. So I left the coffee and just drank the whiskey. The gourmand bit was around six pieces of nougat, chocolate, cake biscuits etc on a plate and after the dessert and half a pint of whiskey I really didn’t have an appetite for it. However diners all around me hungrily devoured all their little plates!

A first class dinner to welcome 1.1.11.

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  1. Jacko
    January 3, 2011 at 06:17

    Happy New Year to you both and enjoy your adventure this year!

    All the best

    Jacko and Legs

    • January 3, 2011 at 08:10

      Hello you two. Lovely to hear from you and a very happy new year to you too! HOpe 2011 brings you all the things you are wish for. All the best.

  2. Art Skinner
    January 3, 2011 at 11:21

    Happy New Year! Just checked in to see how you are faring in South America, and it appears everything is going very well. Glad to see the crossing did not put you in the path of a late season hurricane 🙂

    Believe it or not on NYE we were at our friends and one of them is having a major birthday this year and wants the group to go for an exotic vacation and she chose Argentina. The funny thing is my wife did not balk at the idea, so we may see you later in the year if the plans continue to move forward. I’ll keep you updated if things progress. Take care!

    Art

    • January 3, 2011 at 14:54

      Good to hear from you Art. Even better news that you might pop by!

      Started Spanish school today. 9 to 1 Mon to Fri for next five weeks! Hopefully will be able to string a sentence together at the end of that! Rachel, you remember she came out with us a couple of times in London, is coming out here towards the end of this month and possibly also Dino – in HRPS team.

      Keep reading the blog, stay in touch and make plans to head over!

      Shelley

  3. January 4, 2011 at 18:46

    What a great restaurant to celebrate New Years! Definitely one of my favorites in BA.

    Love the blog!

    • January 5, 2011 at 23:07

      Thanks Maria. La Maison is great! WOuld love to hear about any other gems people may have been to!

  1. January 1, 2011 at 14:27

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