The absolute hotness in the Buenos Aires culinary scene, Hernán Gipponi Restaurant keeps busting out the big guns feeding fantastically hungry foodies and wine lovers by the refined-platefuls. Located in the beautiful boutique Trip Advisor-award winning Fierro Hotel in Palermo Hollywood, HG Restaurant has managed to excel in the dinner, brunch, Happy Hour and now lunch scene, offering a fabulously elegant five-course menu that will answer all of your midday cravingly prayers.
Walking into the bright, comfortable dining room, you would totally forget that you are still in a hotel. Impeccably designed with a classic yet elegant ambience, the photo collage on the walls really warms up the room as it highlights the chef hard at work, intimate cooking scenes from the kitchen and displays the simple, fresh ingredients. While HG always offered lunch, starting in 2012 they began to cook up a special five course menu for the extreme bargain of AR$100 (about US$25) or AR$150 (US$35) with drinks included. The menu changes frequently, depending what in-season masterpiece Gipponi has up his sleeves. The ideal place for a looooong, leisurely lunch, it’s the place to indulge on nice wines, all carefully chosen by Sommelier Martin Bruno and Executive Sommelier, Andres Rosberg, who also happens to be the President of the Argentine Sommeliers Association and moonlights as one of the Entaste directors.
On to the important part: the food and wine. It’s always good to start a meal with a little bubbly. Practically an expert after the Entaste wine tastings where we tried several sparkling wines, I noticed various things about this Chandon Pinot Noir Cuvée Réserve Varietal that are important to note: it’s luscious Goldilocks yellow hue glimmered in the sunshine, there was intense aroma of red fruits like cherries, plums and blackberries with a hint of citric and peach all combined with a toasted almondy flavor, with a nice body and slightly acidic, well rounded aftertaste perfect to be eaten with fish or seafood.
Did that sound convincing? SCORE! In reality, I actually didn’t notice any of that at first taste but I used the cheating powers of google for help. I did notice, however, that this Chandon Pinot Noir tasted mighty fine, went down smooth, and the aftertaste made me wanting more.
First course up, spinach croquette. While the photo may not be the most visually appealing, the taste certainly made up for that. Perfectly cooked, crispy fried goodness on the outside, deliciously spinachy on the inside, I could have popped about five more of these nuggets of fun. It came with a side of flavored butter, and I may just have started eating it plain with a spoon (it paired nicely with that Pinot?).
While mollejas (sweetbreads) aren’t my favorite part of the animal and fennel ain’t my first choice in a vegetable, Sr. Gipponi certainly changed my mind. Crispy sweetbreads, potato puré with fennel and a lemon grass broth – incredibly fantastic.
More wine? Why-nnnnne not! Up next, a fabulous Terrazas de los Andes Torrontés 2010. I’m a huge fan of Torrontés, so this wine was right up by alley. Wine Enthusiast says that this wine is, “Oily and tropical on the nose, with pungency and clarity. The palate is full, layered, plump and loaded with lychee, honeydew and green herb flavors. Provides good feel and just enough acidity to make for a long ending.” Sure, if Wine Enthusiast says it, that’s good enough for me. All I know is that this Terrazas de los Andes Torrontés went perfectly with the nice, light summery white salmon. It might just become the go-to summer wine.
Two down, three to go. This lovely plate of white salmon, topped with fried calamari, was served with squid ink dyed quinoa, commonly referred to as caviar andino (Andean caviar), a cloud of calamari, and a delectable aioli. Everything was just spectacular, the rich layers of flavors and mixture of textures all went perfectly together.
The squid inked quinoa may make your teeth stained black for a hot minute, but you won’t care and you’ll lick the plate clean anyway.
A quick fresh, bright, citric-y palate cleanser.
Finally, one of my all time favorite desserts, and one of the more awesome-est things I’ve ever put into my mouth: Lulo Mousse. Lulo is a citrus fruit that comes from Colombia and the mousse has a light fluffy yogurt like consistency, similar to a yogurt after it’s been whipped up. On top, a great combination of crunchy pistachios, tangy cold lychee and edible flowers. So inventive, incredible flavors, interesting textures, delightful play on temperatures – this dish is one of a kind and quite a wonderful end note to a delicious lunch.
Hernán Gipponi Restaurant
Soler 5862, Palermo Hollywood