Erwan Heussaff and Nico Bolzico are famous—for their millions of Instagram followers, their even more famous wives, Anne Curtis and Solenn Heussaff (Erwan’s sister), respectively, and their many projects in front of the camera. But this time, they’re staying behind the scenes of their latest baby, a beef-centric butchery-deli-kitchen located on the ground floor of a low-rise office building complex on Chino Roces Extension Avenue.
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Named after a beef cut (equivalent to the USDA’s chuck tender), Chingolo also refers to a type of sparrow commonly found in Bolzico’s hometown of Santa Fe in Argentina. It is now the new home and retail outlet of Bolzico Beef from Argentina that Bolzico and Heussaff have been importing to the Philippines since 2018.
“Argentina is the steak mecca,” says Heussaff. “I never really had a good steak until I traveled there with Nico.” So when the Philippine government lifted the importation ban imposed on Argentinian beef in 2018, the celebrity duo decided to embark on their first business project together which was to import Argentinian beef to the Philippines from cattle farms owned by Bolzico’s family.
“We’ve been distributing the beef for almost three years now and everyone kept asking where they could go and buy the meat themselves,” shares Heussaff. While they set up an e-commerce option, people were still looking for a place where they could check out the meat before buying. So when a retail space opened up on the ground floor of the building that houses the office space he shares with Bolzico, they finally decided to open Chingolo.
What to expect? Heussaff answers, “Chingolo is mainly a deli where everyone can get their beef needs, with a simple steak kitchen.” As you enter, you are greeted by the deli area filled with chillers full of takeout items. Bolzico Beef is, of course, the highlight—pure Argentinian Angus beef, certified 100% grass-fed, available for takeout in slabs cut to order per kilo, or in pre-cut frozen individual steak portions. The best part is the affordability—250 grams of striploin for P390, rib-eye for P535, brisket for P220, and rib cap for P253.
Just in case you haven’t tasted Argentinian beef yet, Chingolo is the perfect place to give it a try. It has a small casual dining area with an open kitchen, offering a limited beef-centric menu. The chefs can cook your preferred steak cut for you at relatively wallet-friendly prices.
The cheapest Rib Cap steak goes for just P690 (250 grams) while the most expensive Rib-eye or Ancho steak is P990 (250 grams). In between are other available cuts like Striploin (Angosto), Tenderloin, Flank (Vacio), Rump (Picanha), and Skirt (Entrana).
In choosing a steak cut to try, you should remember that grass-fed Argentinian beef is slightly different from the predominantly grain-fed USDA beef that most local steakhouses offer. Argentinian beef is less fatty with a heartier beefy flavor, and tends to have more bite than its American counterpart.
After two visits, I would recommend the Bolzico Beef Striploin over everybody’s favorite Rib-eye, which I enjoyed with fresh-tasting chimichurri sauce (Bolzico’s favorite sauce!).
Chingolo also has other made-from-scratch sauces that I have yet to try, as well as sandwiches, ranging from a Beef Quarter Pounder to a Chorizo Sandwich. The menu also offers other beef treats like beef tapa, sausages, pastrami, and beef bacon.
According to Bolzico, Argentinians enjoy eating their steaks with lots of vegetables, which explains why their limited menu includes, surprisingly, an extensive selection of vegetable side dishes. You can start with Bolzico and Heussaff’s favorite Arugula Salad, simply a big mound of arugula sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. I particularly like the roasted vegetable offerings, especially the extra zesty Grilled Tomato with Greek Yoghurt and Thyme, and another Heussaff favorite, Oven Baked Pumpkin with crumbled feta cheese.
Also worth ordering is the Mashed Sweet Potato with brown butter topped with roasted onions and leeks, as well as the refreshing Roasted Beets Salad with roasted carrots, orange segments, and almond slivers, lightly dressed with lime dressing.
You can then balance off your meal with some carbs, especially the creamy Mashed Potato and Dalisay Garlic Rice, then end with some of their delish, housemade Dulce de Leche Ice Cream for dessert.
For the immediate future, Heussaff and Bolzico plan to source and sell premium beef products from other countries, like Australian grass-fed beef (now available), New Zealand grass-fed Wagyu, and Charolais beef from France that all share the same free range, organic, certified grass-fed, and “healthier profile” with Bolzico Beef. As far as the kitchen is concerned, the owners intend to keep it simple with its existing short menu which enables Chingolo to maintain its relatively affordable steak prices.
Chingolo is open Tuesdays to Sundays, with Deli hours 9 am to 6 pm, and the Kitchen open, by reservation only, at 11 am to 3 pm for lunch, and 6 pm to 10 pm for dinner. The dining area seats a maximum of 25 people, and is also available for private functions.
UPRC III Building, 2289 Chino Roces Extension, Makati City, (0915) 266-3581, Instagram @chingolodeli
Photos by Chris Clemente
Follow the author on Instagram and Twitter @cyrenedelarosa