Piqueos (pronounced “pi-keh-os) is a new South American restaurant, offering food inspired by Peruvian and Argentinian cultures. Nestled in the homely and suburban rathdowne street, on the north side of carlton, Piqueos is making a welcomed attempt to bring a new restaurant concept. it’s a nice step away from the somewhat feverish wave of other exotic, worldly, travel inspired restaurants that have opened over the past 5 years in Melbourne.
Piqueos fittingly sits on a tree-lined-quiet street sparely dotted with artisan bakeries, antique stores and even a laundromat. The restaurant itself opens up to the street, with glass window fronting the pedestrian path. Inside, a neat and what seemed to be an extremely well stocked bar sits handsomely as the centrepiece of the restaurant, with a host of bar stools lined around it seating the casual diners. Seats and tables are comfortably spaced around the venue, even as the restaurant fills up at around the 7:45pm-8pm dinner rush on a Friday night. Exposed bricks lined one side of the building, with those decorative lights that Melbourne has become more and more accustomed to dimly lighting the warm setting.
The restaurant and concept is the brain child of Shaun Burke and Dave Mills, two well travelled guys who brought the concept over after working in the UK. The menu itself is sharing in nature, fusing Peruvian and Argentine flavours and offering a selection of unique cocktails and drinks. The menu is categorised by various sized dishes, ranging from ‘Piqueos’ to ‘Raciones’ and the ‘Parilla’, it’s probably best to ask the waiter for recommendations for those unfamiliar with the dishes already. A range of specials are also presented by the waiters outside of the items on its menu.
Despite the difficulty in pronouncing the restaurant’s name when asked where dinner was to be for the evening (we curiously tried “pi-kay”, “pi-kos”), the restaurant is memorable for the right reasons. It’s busy, but the service is as good as it gets and we found the food very good. Seriously, the roasted eggplant and sweet potato (Berenjenas y Camote– $8)- amazing, and it’s all very well priced.