RE­VIEW

Latin Amer­i­can street food at CHE.

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - DAN STOCK RE­VIEWS CHE

IT’S as Aus­tralian as Vegemite, though less di­vi­sive – that mys­te­ri­ous, mor­eish, guilty plea­sure of in­gre­di­ents that it pays not to think too deeply about, apart from how de­li­cious it makes chips taste.

But chef Ale­jan­dro Sar­avia has spent a lot of time think­ing about chicken salt, cre­at­ing his own to sprin­kle over hand­cut, skin-on chips at CHE. Grind­ing roasted chicken skin to a pow­der with sea­weed and salt, it makes a win­ner of a roasted Peru­vian-style chicken din­ner at this hand­some new Fitzroy diner.

From the team be­hind CBD’S San Telmo and Pas­tuso restau­rants, CHE (Span­ish for “mate”) fol­lows in the South Amer­i­can foot­steps serv­ing chicken, hela­dos (ice cream) and em­panadas.

That chicken is mar­i­nated for 48 hours in a blend of chilli and Peru­vian dark beer be­fore cook­ing over char­coal, de­liv­er­ing a su­per-suc­cu­lent bird.

The quinoa salad al­most dared me to or­der an­other half chicken or a meat­filled em­panada. It’s hard to make friends with salad, es­pe­cially one packed with this much raw kale, no mat­ter how many golden beet­roots and pick­les it comes with.

But it not all penance for the ve­gos. The corn and cheese em­panada is def­i­nitely the pick of the lot (that also in­cludes smoked beef and chicken ver­sions), the hefty pas­try filled with juicy ker­nels in a molten pool of cheese.

And Ar­gentina’s gift to sweet tooths the world over – caramel dulce de leche – here comes in bril­liant soft serve form, lovely as is in a cup or cone, even more im­pres­sive when doused in Mal­bec­soused blue­ber­ries. Bring on sum­mer.

Sweet, authen­ti­cally ac­cented ser­vice fer­ries those chooks and chips to ta­bles in­side the diner and to the street­side court­yard where sunny af­ter­noons have cold beers and the best peo­ple-watch­ing this side of the Yarra cov­ered.

With a tight of­fer­ing of Ar­gen­tinean wine and beer in­clud­ing Quilmes, CHE prom­ises good times and (al­most) guilt­free chicken salt. Mate, get on board. 296 Bruns­wick St, Fitzroy, che.mel­bourne.

FROM TOP A selec­tion of dishes, in­clud­ing the roast chicken, and the dulce de leche soft serve with Mal­bec blue­ber­ries.

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