As the flames of the Olympic and Paralympic torches in Rio were put out, the fires roared into action at the Maze Grill in Chelsea for their South American-themed supper club. Promising an abundance of beef, cocktails and Latin American vibes, we jumped at the chance to check it out.
The first thing that struck us was that the staff were really getting into the spirit of the evening. Clad in red neckerchiefs and half-sambaing their way around the restaurant, they talked us through the menu. True to the invite, it sounded a real feast, designed to be shared. We kicked off with a sweetly decorated pineapple caipirinha, and perused the menu for the night.
There’s something liberating about a set menu. The chef has gone to great lengths to plan this feast – all you have to do is sit back and decide whether you’ll opt for a bottle of wine from the list, or their pre-planned pairings. Munching on some seriously bouche-amusing canapes, we went for the latter, hoping the nibbles would set the standard for the rest of the food.
First up – the starters. If there was a South American word for ‘smorgasbord’, we’d use it here. A platter arrived bearing minced chicken croquettas (Coxinha), zesty guac with sweet potato crisps, an indulgently sticky coffee-glazed short rib, and a show-stopping stone bass ceviche, fragrantly dressed and topped with crispy shoots. This really came to life with the first wine pairing – a 2015 Amalaya. 85% Torrontés (an indigenous Argentinian grape) topped up with Riesling made it fresh and aromatic – just like the fish.
If the first course impressed, the main was a knockout. A board laden with succulent grilled steak took centre stage, which we doused in zingy Chimichurri Churrasco and a rich, sweet Malbec reduction. Among the plethora of sides served with the meat, the corn-on-the-cob stood out. Seriously – after this, you’ll never accept plain sweetcorn again. Drawing from the restaurant’s Japanese influences, it was smothered in a lime and miso butter. What a flavour combo. Tying it all together: a smooth, unoaked Argentinian malbec.
After commenting on how full we were, we eagerly awaited the pudding – churros served with a reassuringly bitter Grand Cru Andoa chocolate sauce. The real sweetness came from the dessert wine, also from Argentina. Dunking, chatting and sipping, we thought it the perfect way to end the evening. That is, until they brought us a final drink – a signature cocktail dubbed the Chocolate Sour. Zesty and chocolaty in equal measures, it made the perfect post-pud digestif.
Maze Grill supper clubs take place about once a quarter, always with a different theme and menu. Keep an eye on their website for the next event – if it’s anywhere near as good as this evening was, it’s certainly worth a visit.
We The Food Snobs x