Pastiso /Pastuso…Let’s call the whole thing off…or not!
This Peruvian restaurant is hidden away at the base of unassuming AC/DC lane filled with graffiti and alternative bars, this is certainly one of Melbourne’s hidden treasures.
Last night we were a small group of 32 Chaine des Rotisseurs members packed like sardines into the rear wine cellar room — no one seemed to mind due to the amazing gastronomique delights that kept appearing in a steady flow from the kitchen. Pastuso is not for the faint hearted and should not be visited unless you bring your appetite –thankfully we all brought ours!
Highlights of this South American degustation journey were the… Ruby Red snapper served in a buoyant citrus sauce (Peruano) and the wonderful tapas style sharing appetisers of interesting chicken (popcorn like in texture –the chef uses gluten free flour which is always a winner with me) this had a very spicy dip (Causo de Pollo) and the Beef loin skewers had a Piri Piri like taste served in a aji amarillo sauce that melted in your mouth (Anticucho de Res). Fried Cassava chips (Yukas) served with a spicy rocoto mayo were on our specially created menu too which took me back to my earlier years spent sailing around S. America –Happy memories! However the best looking dish was by far the lightly smoked black Kingfish, with pickled beetroot with a parsley salsa (Corbina)
This night could not be reported upon correctly without the mention of the extraordinary –gigantic lamb sharing plates — think big and –no double and treble it — the lamb had been slow cooked in a Peruvian smoking chamber and was served three ways and simply got all of our gastric juices flowing — allowing our conversation to flow and of course our various wines did too. Some liked the Ruca Maelen Malbec 2012, Mendoza, Argentina but I loved the Alto De la Ballena Riserva-Tannat Voignir 2009, Uruguay with its fabulous heavy notes that transitioned us beautifully between the wine and the cheese board and desserts.)–
– the Giminez Mendez late Harvest Chardonnay Viognier, Cannelones, Uruguay sticky complimented the interesting desserts of Cream Peruvian caramel port meringues served in a glass (Suspiro a la Lemena) and toasted quinoa bread. The gluey red chilli and rocoto jam complimented the cheeses and the toasted quinoa bread was yummy (Plato de queso). All in all if you want to taste a slice of Peru and be waited upon in excellent style then Pastuso should be your first point of call.