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Santa Maria del Sur – Didn’t quite cut it

The Hog and I were out for dinner one night when we happened upon Santa Maria del Sur. We were mesmerised by what was in the window. Any meat lover would’ve found it hard to pull themselves away!

There for all to see was a row of sizzling steaks, chorizo and morcilla on a giant grill. It looked amazing and the place was packed. Sadly, we had to walk away, as we had a table booked next door in an empty restaurant.

We inevitably returned a few weeks later after making a reservation. It’s a popular place so you’ll definitely have to book on a weekend. The décor is rustic with wood floors and lots of exposed brickwork but it has a certain elegance and the atmosphere is welcoming and relaxed. We ordered the parrillada deluxe for two, which seemed the natural choice.

It arrived with some theatre, as the food was served on a grill at the table. Everything looked and smelled great. The chorizo and morcilla (blood sausage) were delicious, even the Hog enjoyed it and he’s not the biggest black pudding fan. The melting Provolone cheese was a worthy addition too, even if it was a little tricky to eat.

santa mariaMost importantly though, the parrillada deluxe includes a 14oz ribeye and a 10oz fillet. What a great couple of cuts to be served side by side. The fantastic marbled flavour of the ribeye and the supreme succulence of the fillet are a fantastic combination if you’re sharing (as we always do). They were cooked medium rare, just as we specified and we were all set for a flavour explosion. But it didn’t happen. I took another bite, still nothing. This was the same for both steaks.

The Hog suspected this was down to lack of seasoning but I’m more sceptical and think that they weren’t quite of the quality we were expecting. Not hung long enough perhaps? Whatever the reason, the fact was that we left disappointed. I’ve had tastier steaks at home from Sainsbury’s (28 day aged “Taste the Difference” range).This was such a shame as everything else was a winner and we really wanted to like it.

The great reviews for this place make me think we were just unlucky on our visit but at £27 per head for the main course, I don’t think we would risk a return. There are lots of great steak restaurants in London now, granted they won’t serve the excellent chorizo and morcilla on the side but you can’t have everything. Hawksmoor it is then!

Meal for two with wine and service, around £90.

Address: 129 Queenstown Road, London SW8 3RH

Phone: 020 7622 2088

Web: www.santamariadelsur.co.uk

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About Lisa C

Lisa was brought up in north London but always wanted to travel. So far she's visited every continent apart from Antarctica. She's also star baker and lead blogger at London Piggy.

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