AT THE COALFACE

Asado brings South Amer­i­can swag­ger and the San Telmo team’s win­ning

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - On Sunday - 6 River­side Quay, South­bank, asado.mel­bourne

DAN STOCK RE­VIEWS ASADO

THE GOLDEN, but­tery pas­try, like a trucker who mois­turises, man­ages to be both strong and del­i­cate. The juicy, pa­prika-scented beef is teamed with boiled egg for creamy heft, a fine dice of green olives de­liv­er­ing briny cut­through. Paired with a Patag­o­nian lager brewed to spec, as an open­ing snack they’re hard to beat. Per­fected over many years, it’s lit­tle won­der the em­panadas at Asado are ter­rific.

Adding South Amer­i­can swag­ger to South­bank, Asado is the fourth meatand-mal­bec venue from the San Telmo team. It’s the largest of the fam­ily, a 250-seat be­he­moth clev­erly bro­ken into booth and bar seat­ing that’s stylishly on theme – hides and leather, che­queredtiled floors and cool mo­saic mu­rals – where cow is king and fire fu­els the fun.

Chef Ol­lie Gould of Palermo has added Asado to his re­mit, but his brief re­mains the same – an open fire pit over which whole beasts are splayed and roasted also tak­ing pride of place.

The suck­ling pig is very good. Soft and juicy with a tickle of fiery smoke, it’s full of flavour that comes alive with chimichurri. Teamed with car­rots char-cooked on the par­illa grill and dressed with pepi­tas and goat’s curd, a meal is made.

Ear­lier, a small skewer of silken, sup­ple sliv­ers of tongue is all sorts of smoky de­li­cious­ness, while the house­made chorizo is a soft, sub­tle ver­sion of the species. A bowl of meaty di­a­mond-shell clams with peas and a splash of sherry is a de­li­cious hint of the Span­ish lean to Gould’s menu here, though it re­ally is, still, all about steaks treated with re­spect and big, juicy reds to go with.

Asado is bustling and busy but sharp ser­vice keeps things hum­ming. With a just-open sand­wicheria putting those coal-cooked meats be­tween bread for the lunchtime hordes, this bit of Buenos Aires by the Yarra is hot stuff.

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