CARNIVORE’S PARADISE: An evening with Pastuso and San Telmo
MUUUUURRT! That would be one word to describe the evening I had at Pastuso and San Telmo or a casual dinner at my Argentinian mate’s house. I kid you not, rock up to his place for a ‘BBQ’ and you’ll see total meat coverage taking up the entire real estate of the grill. In fact, I don’t even recall ever seeing any of the grill plates as it’s usually covered in massive strips of beef asado simply seasoned with salt and accompanied with chimichurri with the occasional salad accounting for 1% of the meal. It’s all protein CHAAALD! We’d usually go for four rounds ending up on couch in a euphoric state realising that we had actually eaten a whole cow. So, with that in mind, I knew exactly what I was in for when I was invited along to an interactive tour of South American eats and well, pretty much glorious meat, as part of Taste of Melbourne on this week at Albert Park from November 12th – 15th.
The tour started at the Peruvian grill, cevicheria and pisco bar, Pastuso. Just like its sibling San Telmo, they’re also tucked away in one of Melbourne’s infamous lane ways, ACDC lane. It’s been a hot minute since I last ate here, but one dish that got me all weak in the knees was their Tres Leches – a sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk with roasted pineapple ice cream. Argh…so good. Anyways, onto the tour.
We started with what they pride themselves on and rightly so – Ceviche. Also popular back home in the Philippines, the cubed Ora king salmon was beautifully cured and the flesh dressed in a zesty sour orange dressing and went down perfectly with their frothy pisco sour. Why I offered to be the designated driver still bothers me! I’ve also previously had the Peruano which is a red snapper dressed in lemon juice and caramelised sweet potato and cancha which was also a treat.
Next came something I’ve never had in ma sweet life – tartare de alpaca, Yes, ALPACA. Those cute furry creatures you see on TV! I forgot what show it was, probably David Attenborough but whatever, I kept imagining it and but as soon as I saw the dish and took my first bite and downed more of that pisco sour, I ended up finishing off quite a large portion. Sourced from Illawarra in New South Wales, it had a smokey/woody flavour to it, was not at all gamey and although the texture wasn’t too indifferent to say beef tartare, it was more on the saltier side (a plus).
After abit of a stroll, we found ourselves at San Telmo – the house of MUURRRRTS!
The very awesome Doug Piper from Meat and live stock Australia brought in a hefty amount of lamb (25KG) and took us through the various cuts of lamb as he sliced and diced up the carcass as we ate. He took paddock to plate to another level and gave us tips on what to ask from your butcher!
The lamb rump was just incredible. Well seasoned and marinated in chipotle and coriander, it had that perfect layer of charred crisp and was cooked, to a tender pink that made for an incredible pairing with the glass of Malbec (above).
MLA promotes full carcass utlisation especially secondary cuts like rump and during the evening, it was in agreeance on the table that lamb shoulder is the new pork belly. Doug took us through the many ways you can cook lamb with less waste and fuller flavours along with where they are sourced from. For those who stay away from lamb, pasture fed lab is far less gamey than those that are grain fed and produces more flavour. Same goes for beef but considering we’re in Australia, they spend the majority of their time on pastures anyways.
San Telmo’s ICON dish at this year’s Taste of Melbourne will be their Vacio – Chimichurri rojo marinated flank steak with tomato salad. When this came out, everyone’s eyes literally lit up. One of my favourite dishes here for sure and one of the more cheaper priced items too. Slow cooked, this Argentinian staple was grilled into a caramalised state until pink and the fat, creamy not too mention that smokey charred flavour throughout. Oh, and the tray was right in front of me…I say no more.
Highlights at Taste of Melbourne this year – November 12 – 15
San Telmo – of course, go for their Vacio and grab an Alfajor (cookie filled with dulce de leche)
A Taste of Beef and Lamb Sessions – eat and drink whilst learning about the best ways to cook beef and lamb from a master butcher and first hand knowledge from a farmer about sustainably raising cattle and sheep. More info
Pastuso – Ora King Salmon Ceviche, pisco sours and Costilla De Res – 8 hour slow cooked beef ribs, sweet corn puree and bone marrow. YERM :O
Food Rehab attended this dinner courtesy of Taste of Melbourne, Pastuso and San Telmo.
In other non meaty news, Food Rehab has been featured in Australia’s Top Food Blogs of 2015 WOOP WOOP!! Guess I shouldn’t give up on this blogging thing after all. Thank you for continuing to read my ramblings over the last 7 years!
Check out my favourite restaurants in the interview over at @HotelClubau
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