The next whisky bar

Today, we found our Buenos Aires in the Palermo district – Palermo Soho, to be precise. It is like a cool version of Islington or Soedermalm with a design awareness of Italy. Clothes and furniture (Habitat stuff) are extremely good value and look so fresh.

Walking back to the central point Plaza Serrano, a roundabout surrounded by cafés the unmistakable sound of Miles Davis drifts out of café Malasartes – a better invitation to lunch is hard to imagine. AND they have microbrewed beer. I´m really suprised by the beer culture here: It´s dominated by Quilmes, but everywhere seems to have a micro – 2 in Ushuaia. Negra beers (stouts) seem to be the in drinks which Cim finds especially pleasing.

We are up for a real steak dinner and find a smart-looking but reasonably-priced grillados restaurant and book a table for later on the patio. When we turn up, it´s the perfect temperature for sitting out and the service is impeccable. It seems appropriate to choose the grilled riñones (kidneys) as a starter and we share a huge and tasty sirloin piece which would have fed four.

One more item on the agenda: the bar “Ocho7Ocho” (878 Thames) eight blocks north. Tipped off by an article in the Guardian as being one of the top ten bars in BA with an impressive collection of whiskies. The place is completely unmarked – no window to the street, no sign, no lights – just a tall, heavy wooden door and two guys in suits outside. It reminds me of that episode in Tombraider where you´re not supposed to attack the Bhuddist monks and they end up fighting for you – Perhaps they´ll only allow us in if we know we´re allowed to go in.

Inside it is like a converted church, dark and spartan. They do have a long shelf of whiskies about half of which are malts. We choose a Clynelish 14 and a Balvenie Doublewood. Leo the head barman pours us half a bottle each, and gets on with his mixology. The attention to detail is amazing – flavouring the ice with the spirits before chucking it down the sink. I pose him for a photo with a bottle of Ardbeg before he orders a taxi home.

The demonstrations (football riots?) have calmed, as has the traffic, well at least compared to the trip to the restaurant, which felt like being in a car chase with five million cars, taxis, lorris, and cyclists (!) . These old guys just swerve in and out while we desparately try to put the brakes on from the back seat. We are going to need to chill tomorrow (today?) before we fly out in the evening.

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