Brunch at M Palermo, or Give Me All the Shrimp
I’m not much of a bruncher. But before you light those pitchforks, let me explain. I’m not one to turn down salmon gravlax or eggs benedict (read: I don’t turn down food; read: cook for me!). I will welcome with open arms a Bloody Mary with the day’s first meal. I will, however, freely and without any shame admit that I hate champagne, get that outta my face. It’s just that on a Sunday afternoon I feel more inclined to lay in bed with a bowl of cereal and a few episodes of New Girl. My brunch date told me to stop telling people I watch that show, I refuse!
But when you are sent a brunch menu with “pancakes topped with grilled shrimp” in bold letters, you change out of those elastic waisted sweat pants, put on some headphones to tune out all these annoying chipper people out on a Sunday afternoon and you take a bus ride to said brunch. Then again I’ll drop anything for shirmp. Seriously, give me all the shrimp.
M Palermo is part of a larger group of restaurants in Buenos Aires, mostly in the Palermo area. The five restaurants all play around with menus that highlight fresh fish, nikkei and top notch wine selections – whether it be the gourmet cafe Bar du Marche with its not so secret secret sushi bar M Omakese up above, or their nikkei fusion and cocktail bar Club M. As my North American palette dictates, I am always skeptical about fish heavy menus in this city (cream cheese is for bagels and carrot cake, punto!) but when I walked in the door and saw the chef at the sushi counter toasting nori over an open flame I knew that M had their pescado game on point.
And I wasn’t wrong.
The meal began with a glass of champagne for her, and a fresh lemonade for me. I had already chugged a much needed cup of coffee before the cameras came out. We began to marinate over the meal to come: 8 small dishes, two glasses of wine, coffee, juice, and dessert. That’s per person.
Then the big boys came out to play. Creamy on the inside, crunchy on the outside aranchini (risotto croquets) with a slightly spicy dipping sauce, salmon tartare, shrimp tempura, bagels, cream cheese and scrambled eggs. I’m still dreaming about that aranchini.
I appreciated the mix of traditional breakfast dishes with more playful (fried!) appetizers. And salmon tartare is always welcome to come out and play.
Then a second wave of dishes came out: ceviche, pancakes with grilled shrimp and spinach, and mini hard-shell tacos with guacamole.
The three dishes provided just the right balance of tang (the citrusy ceviche), salty roasted goodness (shrimp) and nostalgia (the guac).
“Would you like something sweet?” the waitress asked.
“Duh,” but is there any other valid response?
And so the meal winded down with a fruit salad, apple pie with vanilla ice cream and suspiro limeño. We ate the fruit salad first (cause best for last), and I glady devoured the (plain, according to my brunch partner) vanilla ice cream while she enjoyed the super sweet limeño. Fair trade.
And so changing out of sweats and heading into Palermo Hollywood was worth it, which is what I said to myself as I put the sweats back on and watched another episode of New Girl.
M Palermo is located at El Salvador 5783. Brunches are offered on Saturdays.
photos by Kevin Vaughn and Sofia Monroy.