Bienvenidos al Buenos Aires Polo Club, Hong Kong’s newest Argentinian steakhouse. Brought to us by the prolific Black Sheep Restaurants, we weren’t sure if this new ‘elite members-only’ early 1900s concept would translate into a stuffy, overly formal experience compared to the warm atmosphere of a traditional Argentinian parrilla. Luckily our concerns were immediately assuaged.
Upon entering BA Polo Club, we were expertly guided past the hip bar to the buzzy, elegant main dining room, resplendent with deep green walls, handsome leather couches, polo antiques and equestrian artwork. This is undeniably a place to see and be seen, with a well-dressed clientele and a focused staff sporting sharp polo-inspired uniforms.
Bearing no resemblance to its former occupant Boqueria, everything about the space is strikingly charming – except for 60s diner music blaring from large speakers (we were seated underneath one, making this component particularly unpleasant). The music proved a major annoyance, not only detracting from the romantic ambiance but also making it genuinely hard to hear. Despite the distraction, the service was polished, and easily among the best we've received in town of late.
For our first cold starter we try the homemade burrata ($168) accompanied by garlic, chives, tomato and gaucho bread. While beautifully presented and generous in size, the cheese lacks salt and flavour, doesn't ooze, and the tomato side is overly sweet with an unexpected and unnecessary dose of grape mixed in. The gaucho flatbread is however perfectly executed.
Next up, the wood-smoked bacon with chimichurri ($168), cured with gin and juniper for three days and slow-roasted over the grill for 20 hours. Despite its excellent crunchy exterior and tender inner, the pork belly is bland, lacking both saltiness and sweetness. The starter we find most pleasing is the chicken empanada ($68). Juicy, crunchy and flavourful without a greasy finish, it's delightful, although a touch sweet with its corn filling.
For our main we sample one of the signature recommended platos, 24oz bone-in ribeye ($628). Rubbed in the restaurant's signature dry rub, this grass-fed Black Angus cattle reared in Argentina exclusively for the restaurant is beautifully presented on an elegant white platter with great fanfare. Despite its noticeably high quality, the flavours of the meat disappointingly don't pop in the pleasing manner we’ve grown accustomed to at other Argentinian steakhouses (like the one down the road). We love all of the traditional condiments though, especially the Malbec mustard, but wish they had been left on our table to heap on to the steak, instead of in dainty portions on our plates. The fries provenzal ($98) fried in duck fat are sinfully delicious, although we have to send back our first round after they arrive cold.
The surprising star of the night is the marshmallow dessert ($98). This charming creation delivers two huge homemade marshmallows filled with dulce de leche ice cream with chocolate nibs, served with flaming wood chips for roasting, and is a perfect contrast of warm, sweet gooeyness with a hit of cold, crisp bitterness.
Undoubtedly some of the flavors need tweaking, and the kitchen and waitstaff seem a little overwhelmed at full capacity. However, with its undeniably exciting concept, Buenos Aires Polo Club has tremendous potential to become one of Hong Kong’s top steak destinations for a tasty night out with an Argentinian twist. Jacquelyn Drozdoff