Reinaldo Vargas hopes to bring a flavour of Argentina to Greenwich
By Kristian Brunt-Seymour
Downtown Buenos Aires might not be something people generally associate with Greenwich, but that’s exactly what one man is bringing to the community.
Proud Argentine Reinaldo Vargas already has strong connections with the Greenwich area having lived and worked in the area for over 20 years.
Now with the help of his Blackheath-born wife Kate, the former professional tango dancer, photographer and all-round adventurer intends to provide a flavour of his beloved Argentina through his love of good food and culture.
Reinaldo first came to London in 1980 as part of his dancing, a profession he began aged 15 and that has taken him around the world.
Since then he has established an Argentine restaurant in Blackheath and the Buenos Aires Café, a communal hub in the Greenwich. The cafeteria has proved particularly popular with residents providing a swinging, community vibe that might be experienced in downtown Buenos Aires, and featuring Argentina-sourced produce along with Argentinean football memorabilia and many of Reinaldo’s photographic works on the walls.
Both locations bring honest, good-quality flavours experienced in Argentina, a country that draws from European influences, particularly Italian and Spanish.
These popular flavours will be continued in the third establishment currently being built in the Greenwich Market area, combining the relaxed atmosphere of the cafeteria with the popular, flavoursome dishes of the restaurant.
“Our aim has always been to create a communal feel with a Mediterranean twist”, explains Reinaldo in between sips of his green tea, a traditional vitamin drink famously drank by fellow Argentine Che Guevara, “I wanted to create somewhere that you feel most comfortable like your kitchen or living room, where you can enjoy your free time in a fast-paced city like London”.
“It’s important to understand that Argentineans are not just men on horses who all wear Cauho (cowboy) hats and are called Pedro. Argentina is a very modern, multicultural society. Our language maybe Spanish, but our architecture is commonly French and our popular cuisine is Italian, so our culture alternates. We also have commonly British things like rugby, polo and cricket.”
“When I worked in show business, we would finish work early in the morning and have cappuccino and pasta – it’s this plus unusual dishes beyond pizza, pasta and South American dishes that we want to focus on in our new location with particularly more emphasis on barbecuing and outside eating.”
As for following trends, Reinaldo remains independent in style and approach, something he takes great pride in with his current establishments and wishes to continue in his third establishment when it opens around Spring time.