Palermo is one of the largest suburbs in Buenos Aires. The area is named for Saint Benedict of Palermo, the patron saint of Sicily’s capital, which shares the name. It’s also the name of the newest restaurant from the team behind Pastuso and San Telmo.
“We wanted to celebrate the Italian influence on Argentinian food,” says co-owner David Parker. “Palermo is a really fun part of Buenos Aires, a bit like a Fitzroy, so we’re paying homage to it.”
The parrilla grill around which San Telmo revolves is part of the kitchen here, too. But the team has added an asado fire pit to proceedings. Over mallee-root charcoal and ironbark logs, head chef Ollie Gould slow roasts Gippsland Suffolk lamb and suckling pig from Millbrook. Expect to see other meats and whole fish soon.
“We’re really looking forward to exploring different native woods and playing around with the fire,” Gould says.
Gould has spent the past two years cooking in Western Australia before which he spent a decade at St Kilda’s Stokehouse. Diners will be able to see Gould and his team in the open kitchen. When we’re there they work calmly and methodically, tending to the fires and a whole lamb hoisted above the gently smoking fire pit.
Meats cooked on the asado are sold in 250-gram and 450-gram portions. As at San Telmo, Palermo is also serving a number of other meat options – including various cuts of dry-aged O’Connor’s beef – cooked on the parrilla.
Non-meat dishes include grilled cuttlefish with pickled mussels and potatoes; ceviche with jalapeño, olive, and fennel – borrowed from Peru but with an Italian flourish; and a must-try grilled carrots with eggplant puree, smoked almonds and brown butter.
The wine list stays faithful to Argentina with a large selection from Mendoza and Patagonia.
The huge space, designed in collaboration with Ewert Leaf architects, features marble benches and tan leather banquettes on plush red carpet, which is punctuated by black and white. It’s contemporary with rustic touches in wood tabletops, bentwood chairs and exposed-brick walls and harlequin tiles.
When builders began stripping back the render on one of the brick walls, they discovered a whimsical hand-painted mural depicting the Tuscan countryside, a remnant from Bill Marchetti’s Tuscan Grill, which once occupied the space,
“Considering the Italian influence, it seemed like a good omen,” Parker says.
401 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
(03) 9002 1600
For Melbourne’s latest, subscribe to the Broadsheet newsletter.