You can now get a taste of that Argentinian flair for food at South Bank’s newest restaurant addition Calida—and the vibe is muy caliente! It offers a modern Australian twist on classic latin flavours and is sure to set the dining scene alight with its elevated, edgy fare. 

We were lucky enough to get a preview of the offerings and one thing we couldn’t go past on the menu was a banquet set menu that was EXTREMELY good value with the cossie livs the way it is. 

Referred to as their Gaucho Seleccion, the tasting menu features a trip around some of their tastiest treats and costs $63 per person (with a two person minimum).

For the sheer amount of food you get, the price is very, very right—my guest and I walked out stuffed and extremely satisfied. 

Our Calida Argentinan experience

We attended the soft launch the day before Calida opened (lucky us!) and when we arrive, the aromas coming from the kitchen already had us salivating. 

It was a chilly winter night so we were looking for food that warmed up our bodies and our souls. After looking at the extensive menu, we decided on the Gaucho Seleccion because quite honestly there were so many things we wanted to taste, we had a hard time choosing entree, main and dessert. This was a great way to have a tour of the menu without breaking the bank. 

calida queso embrace brisbane
You wouldn’t believe how stretchy this queso was.

First up we get Pan Blanco Tostado, which is crusty bread with beef jus. Excuse me but bread still warm from the oven and a little jug of beef jus is now my favourite snack. It’s like the fun part at the end of a meal when you use bread to mop up all the juices on your plate except it’s at the beginning. So simple, but so good. 

Alongside this we’re served with Queso Ahumado, which is a smoked cheese baked in a cast iron dish with romesco sauce, pistachios, chives and more of that crusty bread. Guys, its molten cheese…  in a tiny cute cast iron pan. And the cheese pull is SO SATISFYING as that stuff is both tasty and oh so stretchy. 

Warm cheese, warm bread, warm heart—that’s what I always say*. (*I literally have only said this tonight but I will be saying it now and forevermore.)

calida pork belly
Pork belly, get in my belly.

Next we’re treated with Pork Belly and Morcilla (which is a sort of blood sausage). The pork is super juicy and satisfyingly crisp on top. I’d never tried Morcilla before but it has a chorizo-like flavour with a slightly smoother texture and I am a fan. (I am also glad there is a nicer Argentinian word for it than blood sausage.) 

Our next course consists of 300g sirloin of 120-day grain fed Kidman Beef, sliced to perfection and served with chimichurri sauce and Australian red gum smoked salt. 

Calida steak
Juicy steak with all the fixings.

First off, I could not resist doing a bit of a Salt Bae, as the salt is served in a little bowl on the side and begging for me to sprinkle it with flair. Secondly, the meat is succulent and perfectly medium rare and pairs really well with the zing of the chimichurri and the extra salt. 

Alongside the main event, we have a delightful mixed-leaf salad with a house dressing and a (massive) bowl of shoestring fries with roasted garlic aioli. 

Honestly this is an amazing amount of food and I am really impressed. We’re pretty full, but also have room for dessert because as everyone knows, we have two stomachs—one for savoury and one for sweet—and only my savoury stomach is full. 

calida dulche du leche cookie sandwich
A few sweet treats for dessert.

Enter the Alfajores, four dulce du leche sandwich cookies—delish, creamy caramel in between two shortbread-y cookies. It’s the ideal way to cap off the meal and we end up eating one each and then I take the remaining two home*. (*They did not make it home, I ate them in the car.)

This set menu is such a great price for the amount and quality of food on offer. Calida is definitely a worthy addition to the Grey Street strip and Alemre Group’s portfolio. and I cannot wait to go back and try some more—empanadas, whole roast lamb shoulder, pork chop on the bone… I could go on. 

Calida, 164C Grey St, South Brisbane QLD, (07) 2141 5715

Elizabeth Best

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