Bestie & Mr 1-upper locked us in for dinner at Piqueos which seemed like an ideal spot to celebrate for Mr A's birthday as we loved our experiences of South American food.
Bestie was curious about their Pisco Sours so we ordered a round to try. Turns out they are similar to margaritas with an egg white foam - with a distinct tequila taste, a couple struggled with it due to their bad experiences with tequila and I felt myself getting a touch light-headed after downing it, yes weak sauce!
Some condiments were brought out for our dishes: the chimmichurri was advised with anything except fish and the classic salt and pepper to season as we pleased.
The fresh hapuka used for this starter was slightly cooked by the lime and with the aji amarillo sauce (a Peruvian chile pepper), it was fantastically piquant. Tiradito is considered to be a lighter version of the cebiche (also spelt ceviche).
Tiradito - hapuka, lime, red onion and aji amarillo ($7)
The cubes of blue eye trevalla were cooked longer with the lime so it was much more tender than the tiradito. The cebiche was flavoursome with quite a kick of spice to it, and it was undeniably fresh with the addition of corn.
Cebiche - locally caught fresh fish, red onion, rocoto, sweet potato and lime ($14)
The quinoa salad was fresh and tasty with the bitter radicchio being countered by bursts of sweetness from the pomegranate seeds.
Ensalada de Quinoa - red and black quinoa, pomegranate and radicchio ($13)
The morcilla was earthy and seasoned perfectly, and was further enhanced with a squeeze of lime. Some people may find the idea of a blood sausage off-putting but our minds were too focused on the deliciousness to think about it.
Morcilla - Rodriguez Brothers blood sausage ($13)
Our waiter recommended the grilled beef heart as a stand out dish and seeing as no one was opposed to trying it, we were rewarded with tender yet bouncy meat with a strong beef taste. I was worried that the texture would be too chewy or strange tasting considering it is a muscle, however it's something I wouldn't hesitate to re-order in the future after this fine dish.
Anticucho de Corazon - grilled beef heart with red onion and rocoto ($14)
The grilled octopus was tender and I loved it with the tart grapefruit slivers. The flavours in this dish were very clean and appetising; I only wish there was more rather than two tiny bites of octopus per person.
Pulpo - grilled octopus with olive and grapefruit ($16)
Blackened carrots are a must order for me - I love the combination of the charred, sweet baby carrots with the tangy goats curd. A pity we only had one to two carrots per person, so I felt the serving was much too small.
Zanahoria - blackened carrots and goats curd ($8)
The beef short ribs had a layer of fat intermingled with the tender meat which was really enjoyable. We loved this with the herb-y chimmichurri.
Costilla - 48 hour slow cooked beef short rib ($15)
The chimmichurri marinated sirloin was pink and had a tender bite to it. The flavour of the sirloin was flavoursome and delicious with even more chimmichurri sauce.
Churrasco - 300g Little Creek grass fed Sirloin, 24 hour chimmichurri marinated ($29)
We had arrived to Piqueos late due to work so we unfortunately had to give dessert a miss as the next group was due to arrive for our table. Instead, we hotfooted it to Helados Jauja, just five minutes away, for some ice cream. I really liked the salted caramel flavour but I thought the dulce de leche flavour was overwhelmed by the dark chocolate chips. Enjoyable but on the pricey side - 2 x double flavoured cones coming to just under $20.
Salted caramel and dulce de leche with dark chocolate chips from Helados Jauja
We were all thoroughly pleased with every dish we received and couldn't fault a thing, save for perhaps larger portions for some dishes. The service was informative and our waiter talked us through the menu and helped us with choosing the appropriate ratio of dishes. We weren't entirely full as we had limited time but we were definitely satisfied. If you're keen to give South American cuisine a try, Piqueos is probably the best place to start.
Will I return? Yes, loved all the food.
298 Rathdowne Street
Carlton North VIC 3054
(03) 9349 2777
Tues to Thurs 5:30pm - 10pm
Fri to Sat noon - 11pm
Sun noon - 10pm