About this time last year, I was lucky enough to go to La Boca with a few of my colleagues, otherwise I may never have known of this gem of a place!
La Boca is an Argentinean restaurant on North Terrace, opposite Parliament House.
I’ve been back to La Boca a few times since that first time, and today, lunched again with a group of colleagues.
We were able to phone our order in which always helps when you’re pushed for time. Sadly, it didn’t seem to make too much of a difference.
Although there menu is Argentinean (which assumes lots of meat) there are vegetarian options and it is a pretty versatile menu.
Aside from the food, they make an delicious Sangria to which I’m more than a little partial however I don’t know if the recipe has changed as it didn’t taste how I’ve remembered it to taste in the past.
Today’s lunch showed how different a person’s experience can be depending on what you order.
There were six of us at lunch. We were greeted by a very soft spoken waiter who I’m sure was doing his best, but it was really hard to understand what he was saying.
We had pre-ordered our food because we were on strict time constraints yet when we were sat, we were still being asked how the meat was to be cooked, despite having given these instructions earlier by phone.
When the food came it looked great. Big, colourful and fresh.
I had no complaints about my burger. The meat was moist and full of flavour, the bread was toasted nicely, the sauces dripping through my fingers. It was delicious, fresh and very, very filling. I would highly recommend this burger!
It came with corn on the cob which was liberally lathered with a seasoned butter and I must say, a refreshing change to fries which is usually what accompanies a burger.
One of my colleagues had ordered a Warm Pulse Salad.
She had originally wanted it with chicken but was told only beef was available today (despite another colleague having chicken skewers) so reluctantly chose beef.
When it came to the table, there was no meat in it at all.
The waiter was apologetic and brought her out another meal with beef, however by the time it came out, we were almost finished our meals.
Unfortunately, the new pulse salad dish, with beef, was disappointing.
The beef was so tough my colleague could barely cut through it, let alone try to chew and swallow it.
We mentioned it to the waiter and to his credit, offered her a substitute dish.
As my burger had been tasty she went with that…
By the time her burger came out though, we were all well and truly finished.
It was also disappointing that despite ordering our drinks as soon as we were sat, they didn’t come until we had finished our food.
We couldn’t even give them the excuse of being busy as we were booked at 1.45pm and there was only one other table in there while we were lunching.
I think I scored the jackpot with the burger as there was little, if anything, I could fault in it.
One of my colleagues ordered the Spiced Chicken and Beef Skewers and he said they were tasty.
Three of my colleagues ordered the steak and they were extremely inconsistent. One was tender while another was dry and fatty and gristly.
You would expect an Argentinean restaurant to have more care when cooking meat wouldn’t you? Isn’t that their specialty?
We had also pre-ordered our desserts and again, were left waiting.
We gave them plenty of notice and in fact, one of my colleagues had to leave and asked to have her dessert in a take away container. Ten minutes later and she had to leave without it even though staff had been notified and there was no one else to attend to in the restaurant by that time.
We waited quite a while for our pre-ordered desserts and were wondering whether any of us were going to be able to eat them in the restaurant or whether we’d have to take them with us.
Eventually they came…
Three of us ordered the Warm Pineapple Tart which I was told was very yummy.
It came with a coconut sorbet and everyone enjoyed and said it complimented the pineapple tart nicely.
One ordered the Almond Praline Popsicle which was exactly that…
a popsicle on a plate.
I ordered the Milk Bread Custard served with raisins and Chantilly Cream.
It looked gorgeous. It was big!
However it was also extremely dry. Eating it with the accompanying Chantilly cream made it a little better but I just wonder why they wouldn’t have soaked that bread more.
The caramel sauce was delicious as was the strawberry that was on my plate.
Very sweet and a lovely way to finish off that particular dessert.
I did like that they had authentic music playing throughout the restaurant which added to the atmosphere. It’s just a shame some of us had a less then pleasant experience.
The meals were definitely not small. I was very full waddling out of there but it wasn’t the best experience I’ve had in this restaurant.
My food was wonderful, delectable, delicious but not everyone had the same experience and that dampened my own enthusiasm. It’s not nice to see your fellow diners waiting for food, or not getting quality food while you’re enjoying yours. I felt a little guilty!
Imagine being the person who got the fatty, gristly steak, watching the person who got the juicy succulent steak. It was the exact same menu item but came out completely different.
Aside from that though, it was disappointing that despite our best efforts to pre-plan, having a limited time for lunch, the restaurant was not able to deliver, which caused us to be late and caused a bit of unnecessary stress.
Although I still like La Boca as I personally have always had good food there, I probably won’t be in a hurry to go back but I encourage you to try it and make up your own mind.
Have you been to La Boca?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below
Till next we chow…