AT THE COALFACE
Asado brings South American swagger and the San Telmo team’s winning
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.