If you haven’t yet made it to Buenos Aires, Argentina, fear not. Opening its 300-year-old hardwood doors on Meyers Place today is San Telmo, a parrilla (coal fire grill) restaurant that Melbourne can now add to its long list of international wining and dining experiences.
From what started as a love affair with Argentina, globetrotting flavour addicts and brothers Dave and Mickey Parker have teamed up with Melbourne entrepreneurs Jason and Renee McConnell (The Aviary, The Vic, previously Hoo Haa’s, George Lane Bar and New York Tomato) to create a genuine San Telmo dining experience. The two will be joined by head chef Michael Patrick (formerly at Ladro and Supermaxi).
Melbourne’s very own San Telmo is truly inspired by its namesake – rustic, bohemian, brimming with antiques and one-off finds collected by the Parker brothers on their travels in and around Buenos Aires. You can count on each item having a story behind it too, such as the entrance doors, which were bought from a wrecking yard after being salvaged from a mansion in San Telmo.
When Dave Parker became acquainted with the parrilla style of cooking when he first visited Buenos Aires five years ago and found himself frequenting San Telmo restaurant Desnivel. “The waiters were jovial, charismatic men who made every experience fun, like you were having dinner at your best mate’s house,” he says. Clearly for Parker, his restaurant is just as much about the experience as it is the food.
Fresh off the boat last week, the parrilla (pronounced pa-ri-sha in Argentina) is a masterful piece of craftsmanship and is one of the very few parrillas created by the infamous Pirincho. Some are housed in the Argentinean and Chilean Presidential Palaces, the Ferrari workshop in Modena and VIP restaurants in the football stadiums of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Melbourne, too, is now one of the lucky few cities to have one.
Devour share plates of different cuts of beef, such as: tira de asado (short ribs), bife de vacio (flank steak), matambre (outside skirt) and bife angosto de costilla (striploin on the bone) all cooked before you on the parrilla. If you’re in for an after work drink or waiting for a table, enjoy empanadas at the 10-metre hardwood bar, washed down with Malbec and beers from Argentina. Or pop in for breakfast in the courtyard and grab a medialuna (Argentinean croissant) filled with dulce de leche with a Five Senses coffee.