Read our expert restaurant review of Chimis, an Argentinian restaurant that’s all about charcoal-grilled meat and fish
Chimis in a nutshell
Pared-back Argentinian restaurant serving luscious grilled meats in a tucked-away part of Southwark.
Head chef Nicolas Modad hails from Brindisa, while partner Federico Fugazza founded Argentinian street-food stall Porteña in Borough Market.
What’s the vibe like?
Nicolas and Federico first met at Chilean restaurant El Vergel in Southwark. When this closed they took over the site and turned it into an Argentinian parilla joint with a look that’s modern and cheerfully unadorned – think exposed air-conditioning ducts on the ceilings and plain, sturdy tables and chairs made of warm-coloured slabs of wood and iron. The main focal point is the huge charcoal grill (embers glowing underneath) which dominates the open kitchen.
How does the menu work?
Any menu that lists fried eggs as a side can justifiably be described as hearty, and Chimis’ offering abounds in winter-bulking fare. Appetisers include the likes of marinated aubergine with goat’s cheese and empanadas (traditional Argentinian pasties), and starters range from grilled provoleta (an Argentinian pulled curd cheese similar to provolone) to sweetbreads with a lemon sauce. The highlights of the mains section are the grilled meat and fish dishes, which include Argentinian beef, secreto iberico (a succulent grilled Spanish pork cut), lamb cutlets, chicken legs, cod, octopus and more.
Which dishes should we order at Chimis?
Try the indulgent picada de parilla (listed under starters in the menu, but easily big enough for a main): this was a hearty plateful of tender, juicy sweetbreads, a black pudding (lighter and more fragrant than the English version) and a delicious smoked pork sausage. With all of this came a mound of some of the best homemade chips we’ve tasted, fried in beef fat and drizzled in a garlic sauce.
Steak at an Argentinian grill restaurant should be exceptional and our ribeye, served simply with a sprinkling of salt, chimichurri sauce and oregano-flecked tomato salad on the side was spot on; butter-soft, superbly flavoured meat. For tips on how to cook steak at home click here.
Which dishes should we miss?
Not a misfire as such but the grilled octopus, though delicious, was not as tender as it could have been, and the polenta that came with it was forgettable.
What’s dessert like?
Desserts are simple, from sweet apple empanadas to ice cream. Crêpes layered with dulce de leche were, predictably, swiftly polished off.
What are the drinks like at Chimis?
The focus of Chimis’ wine menu is, as one would expect, almost all Argentinian with a few Uruguayan vintages sprinkled in. Options are available for white and rosé wine but the focus is very much on red. Cepas Privadas, a malbec from Mendoza, was an impressive house red, with fruity vanilla notes. El Guardado Chic was a lovely smooth syrah and Lazos Terra (our favourite) was a smoky, tannic cabernet sauvignon with dark fruits.
What else should we know?
Avoid the table next to the coat rack, to avoid being disturbed by guests reaching over to grab their garments throughout the meal.