Garufin is run by three Argentinians and is the sibling restaurant to Garufa in Arsenal. It’s tucked down in a basement on Theobald’s Road, with rustic exposed brick and black and white tiles (apologies for the photos – dim lighting and black plates do not make for great pictures).
Garufin’s menu was set out to build on steak houses such as Garufa, offering a bigger range of traditional and modern Argentinian food. The menu therefore features meat from the grill, but also snacks and a number of smaller plates to share, split between ‘meats’ and ‘vegetables’.
At lunch two of us started with crisp cheese croquettes (£3.50) with a nicely strong provolone filling, and one of the three empanadas on offer, which had an interesting but well-balanced filling of sweet scallop and salty olive (£3.50 for one).
I then had the rump steak with white corn cream, which was a bigger maize grain with more of a bite than sweet corn in a lovely earthy sauce. This also came with fried mushroom ravioli, which turned out to be little parcels of mushrooms inside empanada dough. The steak could have been a little pinker, but overall the dish was a good mix and a bargain at £7.50.
The fillet steak was the most expensive thing on the menu (£20 for 200g), but the request for medium/well to escape any blood was taken to the other extreme, with too much blackened charring on the meat. The vegetable dishes on the side were delicious though – a great tomato salad with smoky roasted pepper sauce (£3.85), and a nutty quinoa salad with pumpkin and mushroom (£4.25).
This place offers a more relaxed and affordable alternative to some of the fancier steak places in town, but surprisingly the stand-out dishes were those without meat, perhaps reflective of their goal to show a little more of Argentinian cuisine beyond steak.