Hey this site is going to become a foodie blog before long at this rate, but any way, this week we went to Piqueos in Carlton north on Rathdowne St, it is some kind of a take on Argentinean and Peruvian cuisine. Having been to both of those countries I was of course excited to give it a try, hoping for some delicious flavoursome ceviche, chimichurri, and yummy hunks of meat. So it turns out that they have two sittings for dinner, the early one at six, and the later one at eight (which I’m not sure exactly what that means apart from if you have a six o’clock sitting, you need to be out by eight). Being three of us we decided against the tasting menu which provides a varierty across the board (but for me had some items that I wasn’t particularly interested in) and went for three mains, two sides, one salad, and an empanada for myself.
First the empanada, having not had a cheese empanada since those heady days back in Buenos Aires, I was pretty excited to try this one out, the options for empanadas are a bit limited, beef, chicken, and cheese, I went for the cheese (I wish there was a ham and cheese or tomato and cheese) and potato, it’s quite small, and to be honest, while it is good, it didn’t have that melted flowing cheese inside that I was hoping for. Personally I think the potato to cheese ratio was too far in favour of the starch, did I mention it was
quite small? It was $4.50 (Cumanas how I miss you and your $2.70 peso empanadas in a million flavours), okay, don’t give me a massive Salteña, but give me something for my money.
On to the sides and salad, we ordered the grilled beef heart (had this one while studying Spanish in Sucre, Bolivia, didn’t know what it was then, jus thought it was yummy, street food ftw!), ceviche (to be honest I first tried this in Mexico where it was super, then had it in Arequipa, Peru where it was only so-so, probably would have been better had I tried it in Lima) also had this at Mamasita (very good, so maybe I’m a Mexican ceviche fan), and the palm heart salad based on the recommendation of the waitress.
I didn’t get a picture of the beef heart as it wasn’t very photogenic, but it was well cooked and tasty.
The ceviche I did like, it was refreshing and had a beautiful lemon-y zest, the fish (kingfish I think) was perfect, actually, there was something really spicy in there that would only kick in after swallowing the fish and the sourness of the lemon juice wore off, that was a great kick. The salad was good although I’m still now sure what the palm hearts were and what they were for, the tomatoes in the salad were very good though, as were the olives.
On to the mains, and I know what you’re thinking, jeez dtra, those sides don’t look very substantial, and you’d be right, they were quite insignificant as far as portion size is concerned. So do we have much hope for the mains (which are not served with any sides), it would be a strange restaurant to provide small sides and then have gargantuan mains, and this is not a strange restaurant. For mains we ordered baby chicken, churrasco (some kind of steak), and fish of the day. I didn’t get any pictures because visually they weren’t anything special, and it was quite dark in there so they’d just be black blobs on the screen. I had the steak which was well cooked, very tender, and had a huge slathering of chimichurri on top, can’t really go wrong there, good job. I had a bite of the fish (which also was covered in chimichurri), but I think my meat was better. I didn’t get to try the baby chicken (seems a bit cruel, but maybe it is actually a small chicken or some other kind of fowl), but it seemed to be juicy. Now I don’t have the most sophisticated palette (is that how you spell it?) in the world, but I want to talk about the chimichurri, cos they also place a small dish of it on the table as a condiment, my guess is olive oil, parsley, coriander, garlic, and something else, possibly a tiny bit of lemon juice or something similar, quite good, nice and simple that’s for sure.
Unfortunately, this was not the nostalgiac Argentinean meal that I had hoped for when I planned the dinner, when I think of Argentina, I think of vast quantities of grilled meat, chimichurri, and bread, yummy bread. While the food was tasty, the portions turned out to be wanky and not enough for me, I ad to go and get some wedges somewhere else to appease my rumbly tummy, I needed carbs, or at least more meat, I’m pretty sure I could have eaten twice as much as I did which was a bit disappointing. Maybe if I had my time again I would have gone for the tasting plate, but in the end, fancy pants dining probably doesn’t do it for me, and I think for future endeavours I will push the scale down a bit if it will give me a fuller belly. I couldn’t say I didn’t like the food (what we had was delicious), but I couldn’t say that I was happy with the meal either, we’re talking $160+ for three people (two drinks including a pisco sour that I couldn’t taste :`( ) and I was still hungry.
Apologies for the orientation of the photos, wordpress still being hopeless.