TRAVELLING overseas may be off-limits right now but there is nothing to stop imported products from journeying our way.
The availability of imported food products does make life a little rosier in times of gloom especially when a rare treat like Devesa Argentinian Beef (Azul Natural Beef S.A) comes to Malaysia.
Deemed as Argentina’s most recognised and awarded beef brands, Devesa beef is now an added feature at Prime in Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur.
The hotel secured one-month exclusive rights to the brand, making it the first time that the halal-certified variety from Argentina is being showcased in Malaysia.
And who better to head the promotion than Le Meridien KL’s Prime chef de cuisine Argentinian Ramiro Moya.
“Argentina consumes the most beef in the world. One person eats at least 80 to 100kg of beef a year. If there is no meat, it is not a meal, ” said Moya.
Cattle farms dotting various parts of the country are important because they supply beef which is central to the Argentinian diet.
“We have barbecue sessions at least three times a week and it is common for us to use second cuts as opposed to prime cuts, ” he said when introducing the matambre.The matambre, served on a cast iron plate, did not look like it had the ability to sway our taste buds away from the likes of Wagyu or juiciest tenderloin.
But it proved to be love at first bite as the meat, at the prod of the fork, resembled pulled meat.
Nevermind that because we were reaching for seconds the moment the melt-in-the-mouth meat showed its prowess on the palate.
It was surprising to learn that the matambre is often discarded in most meat-producing countries but in Argentina, it has pride of place.
“The matambre is a regular cut of beef which is also known as suadero in some Latin American countries.
“It is a very thin cut of meat that is taken from between the skin and the ribs, similar to the flank, ” Moya said adding that the matambre was popular in Paraguay and Uruguay too.
Soaked in a milk marinade for 24 hours, the matambre is then washed with mineral water to remove excess milk before being vacuum-packed and cooked sous vide for an additional eight hours.
All in all, it takes two days before the matambre is ready for one’s dining pleasure.
Moya added that the matambre was grilled fat side down, on low flame, to render the fat before serving.
Needless to say, the matambre garnered a lot of ooh-ah from our table as we marvelled at how the chefs transformed something insignificant to a spectacular offering.
The bavette, which is a cut close to the skirt but on the back of the animal, requires less attention than the matambre.
“The bavette is a flat piece of meat with a nice layer of fat. It just needs salt and pepper as seasoning, ” added Moya.
The Devesa Chilled Argentinian 120 Days Grain Fed Beef promotion presents grain-fed tenderloin (RM250 nett for 220g), grain-fed rib-eye (RM230 nett for 340g), grain-fed sirloin (RM200 nett for 340g), grain-fed bavette (RM200 nett for 600g) and grain-fed matambre (RM180 nett for 340g) which are available until Sept 30.
“The Devesa 120 days grain-fed beef is 70% corn-fed. Corn in the cattle’s diet results in the meat being sweeter, ” Moya explained.
Le Meridien executive chef Antoine Rodriguez, who was happy with customers’ reception to the promotion, said there were plans to bring in Devesa’s grass-fed variety in following months.
Established in 1840 in Argentina, Devesa raises approximately 60% of its own cattle with the remaining outsourced from approved suppliers.
The brand took home the silver award for the quality of its grain-fed rib-eye steak in the World Steak Challenge in Dublin, Ireland last year.PRIME, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2263 7434) Business hours: 6pm to 10pm, daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.