San Telmo

The peo­ple have spo­ken, and they are crav­ing steak. By Larissa Dubecki

Time Out (Melbourne) - - FOOD AWARDS 2017 -

SAN TELMO DOESN’T muck around. This gau­cho steak­house run by a bunch of Mel­bourne hospo grin­gos lays its car­niv­o­rous scene at the en­trance, where some im­pres­sive bits of cow sit dry age­ing be­hind glass. It’s a mem­o­rable wel­come, the volup­tuously mar­bled fat a prom­ise in writ­ing of good things to come. Step fur­ther into this tem­ple de carne in Mel­bourne’s par­lia­ment bar­rio and you’ll come face to face with the open kitchen and its centrepiece par­illa, where glow­ing hot coals are shov­elled around by a brow-mop­ping chef who re­ally ought to be paid dan­ger money.

The peo­ple have spo­ken, and the peo­ple want meat. They want meat in a lair that’s just like be­ing trans­ported to Buenos Aires, where cowhide in its var­i­ous forms cov­ers the menus and ev­ery other avail­able sur­face. The peo­ple also want fried broc­coli. The must-or­der dish at San Telmo is their con­tri­bu­tion to the oeu­vre known as good veg gone bad: flo­rets of broc­coli fried in bat­ter un­til they scream for crunchy mercy and buried un­der a salty cheese bliz­zard of grated pecorino. You could eas­ily sit down with a plate of these ba­bies, a glass of some­thing off the all-ar­gen­tinean wine list and call it lunch. But there are more strings to the San Telmo bow than steak and fried broc­coli. There’s a vitello ton­nato play­ing tribute to the na­tion’s sig­nif­i­cant Ital­ian pop­u­la­tion: tis­sue-frag­ile pieces of eye fil­let, dabbed be­hind the ears with tuna mayo and given a clas­si­cal kick with ca­pers and parme­san. There’s a born-to-be-mild mor­cilla, sweetly fra­grant rather than grunty. And fat po­lenta chips with chipo­tle mayo, of which no good can come ex­cept mak­ing you very, very happy. The hanger steak is nigh on per­fect, al­though let’s pause to ac­knowl­edge that at $40 for a dainty serve it’s a bud­get cut no more. The caramel crust is a tribute to the Mail­lard re­ac­tion, the blush pink flesh full of beefy flavour, the salt crys­tals on top all the gar­nish its needs. OK, so maybe a serve of the fried pota­toes in a gloopy melange of cor­ni­chons and aioli could come along for the ride.

The peo­ple might po­litely sug­gest San Telmo could jazz up the mu­sic se­lec­tion, be­cause no one wants to hear the Gypsy Kings twice of an evening. They will be in mad agree­ment, how­ever, that the quo­rum of Latin Amer­i­can staff are right to cor­rect their pro­nun­ci­a­tion of par­illa. In fact, they are in mad agree­ment about San Telmo in gen­eral, which is why it’s the Peo­ple’s Choice Award win­ner for 2017.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.