Restaurant Of The Week: Sucre

Words by
Jemima Sissons

15th November 2021

Ten years after opening in Buenos Aires, chef Fernando Trocca brings Argentine open fire cooking to London

Playing fiddle to its former incarnation as the London College of Music is no easy task, but that is what celebrated Argentinian chef Fernando Trocca has set out to do with Sucre, his first European restaurant outside Buenos Aires. Situated in the handsome 310-year-old Great Marlborough Street building, the interior is as subtle as a tango dancer’s frock – the ceiling dripping with chandeliers crafted from glass bottles, sage green leather banquettes nurturing business-lunch bonhomie – it was a sea of suits on a weekday lunchtime – and a general feeling that the party might kick off anytime. This is helped with the deftly made cocktails such as the Negroni Balestrini, perked up with the addition of sea water and eucalyptus smoke.

It is a miracle this banqueting hall can be fed from such a small kitchen, which sits at full view at the back, the famous flickering parilla grill creating a warming glow. Trocca is renowned for cooking on fire – the clue to avoiding the very British "scorched-on-the-outside-raw-inside" finish is indirect heat apparently - and here the warm embers are used cautiously to embolden dishes such as hispi cabbage with burnt onion and blue cheese and a silken Iberico pork matambre.

Snacks are impressive – sadly the famous empanadas had run out on this particular day – but burnt aubergine with lemon and herb salad was a flavourful nod to the Middle East. Main courses didn’t wow but we’d go back for the half chicken with peas. For the seriously sweet toothed, the dulce de leche pudding offers a calorific molten ending, although we’d arguably just reach instead for one of the expertly mixed Old Fashioneds, then join the merriment downstairs in the Abajo bar. With its industrial bones and moody lighting, it draws inspiration from the underground bars of 1980s Buenos Aires and offers up nights of cocktails and vinyl until the early hours.

Grilled prawns with peri peri butter at Sucre restaurant

Grilled prawns with peri peri butter at Sucre restaurant