La Boca Bar and Grill
241 O’Riordan St, Mascot NSW
(02) 9317 1680
There’s no need to book a flight to South America from Sydney Airport – an authentic experience is just around the corner. Instead of venturing into the terminal, you can stop and experience the traditional tastes of Argentina at La Boca Bar and Grill, in Mascot’s Stamford Plaza.
La Boca is named after the vibrant working class neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, home to tango and street artists. Brightly coloured shanties adorn the famous street, El Caminito, where impassioned tango dancers perform on the cobblestones for spare change. This area typifies Argentine history and culture, so it seemed only fitting to give the restaurant the same name.
Argentine native, Nicolas Arriola, is in charge of the kitchen and brings inspiration from his homeland straight to the plate. He’s worked in grill restaurants all over the world, from Budapest to New Zealand, as well as a three-starred Michelin restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain.
Now firmly settled in Australia, Nicolas is producing modern Argentinian cuisine with local ingredients at La Boca. Waste management is at the heart of the restaurant ethos, and the whole animal is used down to the bone. Premium cut steaks are also locally sourced, and dry-aged in-house for 28 days.
Start the evening off with a cocktail before looking at the menu. Argentinian dining is a communal affair, so many of the dishes are designed to share. Sit back and order a selection of picadas, or small plates, to start. Sample the avocado, tomato, and coriander salad with lavosh, or dive straight into the smoky options with the house-made pork chorizo with chimichurri.
Grilled, marinated meats are the heroes of the menu, cooked for over six hours on the traditional parilla and asador grills to create the intense barbecue flavour that Argentina is known for. Pork ribs are home-smoked and stout-boiled, before being finished with a sticky bourbon glaze, while chicken thigh is marinated in salsa verde and then wood-fire-grilled.
In the spirit of the restaurant’s nose-to-tail practice, the meals from the asador are served with the skin and the fat, so the meat is always tender. Wood-fired lamb and suckling pig are served with fresh grilled vegetables, but there are also inventive side offerings including a warm legume salad or grilled mushrooms with salsa verde.
For the sweet-tooth within, try the crepes with luscious dulce de leche, or the house favourite ‘chocotorta’: a rich coffee, caramel and chocolate cake, served with mixed berry compote and vanilla bean ice cream. Accompany your meal with a glass of wine from their extensive list, which brings together a great variety of local Australian and Argentinean options.
La Boca’s design pays homage to its namesake neighbourhood, with a hand-painted mural of El Caminito spanning one entire wall. The parilla takes pride of place in the centre of the restaurant, so guests can watch the chefs in action.
With carefully prepared dishes that reflect the traditional taste of Argentina, La Boca introduces a new type of barbecue to Australian audiences. Jump on board this journey to South America, without having to endure a day of travel to get there.