Peruvian and Argentinian Finesse at Piqueos
We've seen may cuisines done well in Melbourne but diners are always looking for unique fine dining experiences. A stunning unique experience is the blend of Peruvian and Argentinian cuisines at Piqueos in Rathdowne Street Carlton. Head along to this trendy precinct in Melbourne and imbibe the best of South American cooking and engaging warm staff who offer exceptional service.
Shaun Burke our host told us that the idea for the restaurant came from his and co-owner Dave Mills' time in London at Gaucho, where Argentinian cuisine was a hit. Sydney has also proved a popular destination for Argentinian food in recent times, with the trend now growing in Melbourne. The point of difference here is that Shaun and the team have added Peruvian cuisine to their original idea for an Argentinian restaurant.
The World Loves Melbourne was invited by Piqueos to experience Peruvian and Argentinian cuisine and we believe this a great combination... The name Piqueos means small dishes for "pecking" or sharing. We were able to share several dishes off the menu and were impressed with them all. Piqueos came on the Melbourne restaurant scene with a bag, and has kept its exceptionally high rating on review sites...
Come here to be treated to the best of South America by Head Chef Blair Williams. A trip to Peru wouldn't be complete without a Pisco Sour and some Cebiche, nor Argentina without a steak and a glass of Malbec.
Piqueos pleases with its cool ambience featuring exposed brick walls, large pendant lights, large front window, and classic chairs and copper tables. Perch at the centre placed bar, or at the copper tables, or indeed grab a table by the warming open fire in winter.
Popcorn was served as the opening appetiser of the night. We engaged in many conversations with the enigmatic Shaun Burke who impressed us with his hospitality, passion and humour. Surely one of the great restaurant personalities of Melbourne.
We were surprised to see the Sake make an appearance but understand that Peruvian cuisine has Japanese influences. The Sake blended well with the seafood, including an Oyster shot (which I consumed eagerly before a chance to photograph).
Bring on the Teradito! This Kingfish, aji amarillo, passionfruit and huacatay was stunning and true to Peruvian cooking, delightful in its presentation and its finesse.
A highlight was this Cebiche (yes, spelt with a "b") of 50g Pink snapper, red onion, aji rocoto, sweet potato and lime. This meal was turning into a journey or trek across South America. We were loving the ceviche style fish, this time cured in citrus.
Piqueos sources unique South American wines, and we enjoyed the excellence of these wines with our meal, eager to try something different to our normal staple of Australian or European wines.
Wines are sourced between Patagonia, Mendoza and Salta in Argentina. Piqueos have organised them in order of altitude which plays a key role in Argentinian wine.
The Char grilled octopus, kipfler and olive also showed exceptional finesse. We were now entering the wonderful world of the charcoal grill...
Piqueos delighted us with this Roasted beetroot and goats cheese side that could have posed as a main dish.
It was then that we celebrated the cuisine of The Andes with this Carapulca - high altitude potato and pork belly stew (contains peanuts).
We love a good high altitude stew, and have fond memories of stews from the mountains of Spain. This is where Piqueos displays its rustic self.
Piqueos served us more South American wine.
We all know an Argentinian strong point is its cooking of meat. However, at some restaurants, it's just about being impressed by huge cuts of meat. Piqueos then thrilled with this 350g Lamb rump char grilled to medium. Sensational with a squeeze of lime.
And perfect with sweet potato, noting the huge serving.
Piqueos served us a pleasing dessert of Meringue, dulce de leche and plum pisco. We loved the combination of meringue with salted caramel.
Piqueos is an exciting restaurant full of flair and finesse in a great part of Melbourne. Highly recommended.