MELBOURNE | Pastuso, San Telmo’s sister restaurant, is tucked away at the end of ACDC lane and has been serving up Peruvian food for around three years. Peruvian is one of those cuisines that’s been heralded as “the next big thing” for a while, but hasn’t really managed to take off. Thankfully Pastuso has survived the passing of the hype to become an established favourite amongst Melbourne diners.
Step inside and you’re greeted with a low ceiling venue. There’s a large, open kitchen and a bar across the room, dotted around are an assortment of seating options – couches, benches, tables and chairs. Inca-inspired tiles and wooden floors match with bright coloured Peruvian posters and a low ceiling to good effect. It’s an energetic, casual space that suits the laneway locale well. If you’ve got a group grab a seat in one of the cozy booths and if you’re solo or a couple, choose a kitchen side stool to watch the fire grill in action.
Chef and co-owner Alejandro Saravia hails from Peru and has created a menu that can best be described as modern Peruvian, influenced by Peru’s traditional dishes and the availability of fresh, Australian ingredients combined with what can be sourced from Peru when required. Staff are happy to explain some of the more exotic ingredients to you, and handily there’s a little glossary to help you along too. Before long you’ll know all about aji, botija, and cilindro.
The seasonal menu is split into several sections – ceviche, street food, fire, sides, and desserts. It’s hard to choose as the menu is relatively extensive but the staff are on hand to make sure you don’t order too much or too little. The ceviche is a must – we recommend the Ora King salmon with a sour orange dressing, Amazonian chillies and plantain chips, which has just the right balance of sweet, sour, salty and chilli. From the street food section of the menu, a standout is the Salchicha de Huachana – traditional Peruvian house made sausage, caramelized onion puree, soft egg, and herb panko. The rich balance of flavours and textures is divine.
Drinks wise, it’s hard to go past the cocktails here, which feature pisco used in various ways. Try the “Huacatay Mule” which features Huacatay macerado pisco, Talisker whisky, lime juice and ginger beer. The wine list, which features wines from around the world, with a focus on South American and Spain, is also fantastic.
Oh and if you were wondering where the name “Pastuso” comes from, it’s actually Paddington Bear’s original name.
19 ACDC Lane
Telephone: (03) 9662 4556
Mon – Sun: 12:00pm to late