End of an era ora (long live Revuelto Gramajo)
… there are not many eateries left in this world, that opened over 70 years ago, and are still going strong.
Well, much to my shock, I read this week that one of the great Buenos Aires classics that opened back in the early 1940s, has just closed it’s doors forever.
‘Munich’ was hidden away in downtown Recoleta, and if walls had ears, there would be too many love stories, marriage proposals, breakups and divorces, secrets shared, lives planned, sadnesses drunk, birthdays celebrated, deaths announced and a hell of a lot of footsie footsie, under the table. (no business or money talk here, wrong place chaps)
Munich was certainly one of the first, if not the first restaurant I went to eat at, upon arriving in this fair Capital. (By the way, I love the fact that it is just called, Munich, not The Munich or Munich Restaurant. The waiters, the same team forever, came straight out of the Louise Malle movie, with Andre Gregory. The food was what can be described as classique-nursery (it never changed) with a traditional gourmet twist to it. The plates were always served by the same waiters (I think they were born in the kitchen) who must have began their careers here and never changed their attitude (verging on authoratarian) or their white, monogramed moso-uniform, when serving at the table.
Even though I have not eaten there for over a year now, I do feel as if a good friend has just died. Reliable, comfortable, always there, and when in need of a drink or a plate of Revuelto Gramajo, usually both, I would head down to this piece of hallowed gastronimique Argentine turf.
You may be wondering what that last dish was called again. I had never heard of Revuelto Gramajo before my first dinner in Munich, and have a debt of gratitude to the place and of course the chef. Since then, I have eaten many Revuelto Gramajos, in fact I spent a year looking for all the different styles offered by different chefs, even preparing my own at home, (sometimes with shrimps) that never of course was as correct as the one in Munich (they always managed to keep the papa fritas crocante).
Now, if we turn the pages of Argentine history back to around 1884, we will find General Julio A. Roca in his tent, tired and hungry after a fierce desert battle (slaughtering the locals) in his second desert campaign, writing up his diary. In comes Artemio Gramajo (the general’s aide) to ask if he requires anything before turning in for the night. The General says that he is indeed hungry, but is there really anything left at all to eat. Supplies were very short indeed. Artemio says that he will go to the food tent and see what the chef can scramble together. There was no cook available to help, so in the kitchen, Artemio finds a frying pan and some fire. Looks around, and there are some potatoes, some eggs and some ham. An onion and a piece of red pepper. There was also a tin of mixed spices (black pepper, pimienton & provencal) on the shelf, but nothing more. So he splashes some oil in the pan and Artemio prepares and cooks all the ingredients together. With great attention, and love for his boss, half an hour later, a plate of nutritious food, that looked absolutely wonderful, was served to the general who not only ate all of it, but said that he would like the same dish again the following day for dinner, and in the meantime, please do send complements to the cook on preparing such a fine dish. Artemio then explains that he infact cooked the dish by himself, and he hoped everything was in order. Roca stands up and slaps him on the back with a huge grin and tells him that from now on this is not only to be one of his favorite dishes, but it will now be named, Revuelto Gramajo.
So there you go. And not many people know that.