Los Infernales first started as a food truck, delivering it’s meals to fairs and events. After an emphatic response, they decided to open Los Infernales restaurant in San Telmo. The slogan is, ‘Food with identity’, seeking to re-discover the flavours of pre-colonized Argentina. The end result is an eclectic mix of…..? street food meets wild animals.
I sat down with Claudio, Mariana, and Federico. Together they own and run Los Infernales. They have a passion for the history of Argentina and it’s food. The name Los Infernales is steeped in history and this is why they decided on this name. The Infernales were an army of brave gauchos, who defended the northern border to the advance of Peru. Claudio wanted a representation that reminded people of where they came from.
Inside, the atmosphere is trendy with indigenous touches, a throwback to the days of the gauchos. The meals are served on steel plates, the drinks in steel cups, just as the gauchos would have dined. This is combined with subtle lighting, extensive drawings, dark wood and ornaments to show that Los Infernales has it’s own identity sculpted from history.
Mariana begins by telling me about the history of Argentinian food. “Street food is the norm in many regions of our country”. Think about all the different delicacies available when walking around the streets. Tamales, Empanadas, Choripans; it all originated from the streets. Today this food is available in all price ranges and tastes, but as Mariana states, the chef “has to be in touch with the streets” to truly deliver an authentic product.
Claudio shows me an extensive recipe list. To my surprise all meat products are their own recipe. They are recipes that have been handed down for generations, and developed to suit the modern day palates. The meat is not prepared on-site, it is made by a butcher who specifically makes these products following the Los Infernales recipes. This eases the load on the restaurant, as it is quite small. The homemade recipes used at Los Infernales show that they really care about the taste of the final product and delivering an authentic experience.
The menu is extensive. Reading through, i realise there is a lot of different and interesting meats. They offer everything from rabbit through to cow, most things inbetween and even an ostrich. Prices for the main meals start from $100, with a daily set menu available from $140. Craft beer is clearly taking off in Buenos Aires and Los Infernales serves Portlander, available as either a Red Ale or Golden Lager.
As Los Infernales has many options available, i wanted to ensure i got to taste all these obscure meats. I skipped the entree of Empandas; although i did try them, but more on that later. First up, Venison Burger. Deer is a difficult meat to cook as it is very low in fat, meaning that it has a tendency to cook tough. With the first bite the patty broke apart and the flavours subtly complimented each other. The entire burger was juicy and soft, and the smoked BBQ sauce delivered the final pleasureable hit.
Whilst placing a simple Choripan in front of me, Claudio states ”The first meat consumed in Argentina was the Ostrich’’. The Nandu is an Ostrich sausage, between bread and topped with a brunoise of corn, capsicum and cucumber. With the mix of colours it looks nicer than most choripans, yet as with most, it is a bit tough to bite through the bread, sausage skin and meat. However, this is a part of eating street food, being able to eat a whole meal with your hands as you walk down the road. The difference at Los Infernales is that the meat is so tasty.
Now what journey into street food is complete without an Empanada. Yet, they are on nearly every street corner, so what makes these so special? Simple, the mix of flavours. Their range of Empanadas consists of 6 different flavours, for example; La Patagonia (lamb, onions and mushrooms), La Norteña (turmeric, onion, potato and goat cheese), La Cuyana (wild boar and kiwicha). Each one has a different pastry casing and tastes totally different. This is where you come to eat Llama wrapped into bolivian turmeric pastry.
For meat lovers you can delve into Rabbit Choripans, Angus Burgers, Buffalo Milanesas and more. The veggie lovers can delve into Mushroom Choripans, Quinoa Burgers, Large mixed salads and more. There is also a great range of desserts, breakfast meals and iced teas.
‘Food with identity’, that’s the slogan of Los Infernales. Each meal has history attached to it and really is a journey between Argentinas pre-colonization to it’s modern day street food. When i arrived at the restaurant i did not expect to be eating Deer, Rabbit, Llama, Wild Boar and Ostrich. However, i did, and i enjoyed every single last bite.
Open Sunday to Wednesday from 10:00 to 23:00 and Thursday to Saturday from 10:00 to 02:00
Carlos Calvo 492, San Telmo.
*With limited seating, Los Infernales recommends making a reservation in the evenings.