The idea to bring South American cuisine to Melbourne occurred to Shaun Burke and Dave Mills, current owners of Piqueos, while they were working in London restaurants Gaucho and Floridita.
The intimate space – neatly tucked away on Rathdowne Street – will transport you, whether it be via the copper tabletops, star-like filament bulbs or the expansive bar. The menu itself visits anywhere from the fishing villages of Peru to the meaty plains of Argentina.
Think small, focused plates featuring dishes like cebiche (spelled with ‘b’), which comes perfectly balanced with corn, sweet potato and fresh lime.
Barbecue dishes are stars on the menu, even though there are still plenty of vegetarian options like the illustrious-yet-underrated palm heart salad – known by many South Americans as the ‘Millionaires Salad’.
The purely South American wine list ranges from the powerful Colorne Malbec to the quirky Torrontes and some rather surprising blends. The latin orientation isn’t shy on the cocktail front, with a classic Pisco Sour as well as a spine-tingling chimmichurri Bloody Mary.
And the best part? The food and drink take centre stage. Piqueos maintains an elegant charm and a casual feel that is free from pretention and all the extra frills.