Monday, December 8, 2014

From Peru to Tokyo

I took Mr Rosanna out to Pastuso in ACDC Lane on Saturday night for his birthday celebration and it was fabulous!  If you're wanting to go somewhere with a rockin' vibe then this is the place to be.  I sometimes think chefs have become the new rock stars of our time and there were a lot of hipster staff with cool haircuts and beards also working the place - it was a little bit scene-y but the crowd was fairly diverse which is always a good sign.  As you enter ACDC Lane and go past Cherry Bar, Pastuso is right in front of you at the back of the lane before it curves around to the left at Tonka Restaurant.  Lee Ho Fook is also meant to be opening there soon.
Image via Dimmi
There's a big bar out the front at Pastuso which serves Peruvian and other drinks, a grill and smoker in the right hand corner in front of the colourful poster artwork, a cevicheria (where you can also sit and eat) in front of the back lounge section with the leather banquettes, and semi-private dining rooms on the left.  Mr Rosanna and I scored seats in the back section overlooking the cevicheria so we had a bird's eye view of the place.  It's a big space which has some subtle South American influences (wall hangings and touches of textiles) as well as, strangely enough, a slight Japanese feel in terms of the food and decor.
In front of the cevicheria at Pastuso
It was starting to fill when we arrived for our 7 pm dinner booking (which meant having to be out by 9 pm) and by the time we left, the place was packed with people being turned away at the door (I'd booked a couple of months ago).  Mr R and I had a couple of entrees from the cevicheria (ceviche is fish/seafood that's been cured in citrus so think Peruvian sashimi) which were the highlights, we also had the pork belly and one of the specials from the grill - the meat was cooked to perfection medium rare - and along with the Amazonian salad, we finished with one of the rice pudding desserts which we shared.  The waiting staff brought dishes out as they were cooked and explained exactly what they were as they set them down in front of us which I really appreciated.  Happily, there is no guinea pig on the menu (which they do eat in Peru) although you can get Alpaca.
Image via Weekend Notes
Pastuso is owned by the same people who run Argentinian-inspired San Telmo in Meyers Place and is named after Paddington Bear, who came from 'deepest, darkest Peru.'  They are also holding a New Year's Eve party there which I think would be a lot of fun!
Sake bottles lined up at Hihou Bar
After dinner, Mr R and I decided to go to a bar and actually ended up at Hihou, above Kappo, where I went for dinner the other week.  Again, you need to ring the doorbell to be let in upstairs and it is like being in Tokyo when you arrive.  Mr R and I got seats right in front of the bar and it was fascinating to watch the barman create all his drinks - almost like an alchemist using beakers to mix this and that.  The sake is also a specialty and there are beautiful bottles lined up - Mr R had a nashi pear cocktail and a cold sake although I think sake really is an acquired taste.  We had a great time!

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