Two Peruvian sisters catching up in Melbourne = perfect excuse to visit Pastuso, a Peruvian cevichería and bar under the culinary lead of chef Alejandro Saravia.
We visited for dinner (read: it was dark and my photos suck) and immediately felt home thanks to the neon posters and other typical decorations. In addition, we were served by an extremely friendly and helpful Colombian waiter.
Given the occasion, we decided to forgo our usual glass of wine and started the night with pisco sours. We found they were milder than what you typically get in Lima, but we liked them anyway.
Pisco sour ($17 each)
The menu is designed to share and there’s a set menu available. For the first time ever we figured the set menu would be too much for us and ordered a similar selection of savoury dishes a la carte. The ceviche peruano (ruby red snapper cured in lemon juice with caramelised sweet potato and cancha) was a smaller and more refined version of our national dish, but very enjoyable.
Ceviche peruano ($19)
Even though the whole meal was delightful, the anticuchos (beef loin and swordfish skewers with grilled vegetables, huacatay and ají amarillo sauce) was perhaps the highlight, in particular the swordfish. I had forgotten how well it goes with Peruvian marinades.
The lomo de costilla (beef ribs smoked and slow-cooked for 12 hours in an aji mirasol master stock and served with green quinoa and Padron pepper) was butter-soft and perfectly seasoned. The green quinoa was very mild in flavour, serving as a nice contrast to the flavour-packed meat.
Lomo de costilla (200g, $38)
We chose solterito (Andean cheese, broad beans, baby peas, Peruvian olives, heirloom tomatoes, pepper grass and oregano) as a side just because we hadn’t eaten it in a long time. Although this was an unorthodox version (it typically has red onion and rocoto, and doesn’t have peas) it was quite nice.
The final “salud!” (cheers) was made with a glass of pinot gris for my sister and a glass of pisco Italia for me (Italia is the name of the aromatic grape used for this pisco). Until next time.
Pinot gris ($12), pisco Italia ($9)
19 ACDC Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9662 4556