Pastuso, Melbourne

Walking down Flinders Lane, I’ve often passed ACDC Lane and noticed a restaurant at the very end – Pastuso, a “modern Peruvian grill, cevicheria and pisco bar”. My only previous experience with Peruvian cuisine has been the Japanese-Peruvian fusion of Nobu, which I loved, so I did have quite high expectations of Pastuso.

Ceviche Nikei de Camarones — Crystal Bay prawns, radish, ginger, turnip puree, ponzu & white miso

Ceviche Nikei de Camarones — Crystal Bay prawns, radish, ginger, turnip puree, ponzu & white miso

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Contrabando, Sydney CBD

I first came across Contrabando when I was invited to a work lunch for Taco Tuesday, which featured $3 tacos all day every Tuesday. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, but I did check out the menu and was keen to go at the next available opportunity. A couple of weeks later, after a little confusion finding it, my boyfriend and I eventually arrived at the upside down Noble House sign and made our way down the dimly lit stairs. I wanted to try just about everything on the menu, but had to settle for the sensible option of only ordering enough for two people. We began with the crab tostadas – the shredded crab was sweet and creamy, with a hint of chilli, and was perfect with the crisp tostadas.

Spanner crab tostadas with avocado puree and chilli & ginger mojo

WA spanner crab tostadas with avocado puree and chilli & ginger mojo

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Attimo, Northbridge

I’ve often written about my love of garlic prawns and I have to tell you, I had probably the best garlic prawns I’ve had in a long time at Attimo, an Italian restaurant in Northbridge. The garlic and chilli infused olive oil was still bubbling when the iron dish was placed in front of me and the balance of flavours was incredible. Many restaurants either have too much oil or not enough garlic, but Attimo’s was the perfect blend of smooth, garlicky, spicy goodness and I ended up mopping up every last drop of the lovely sauce with the provided bread. The prawns themselves were juicy and tender and my only complaint was that there were not enough!

Garlic Prawns - Sizzling prawns cooked with garlic, chilli, shallots and parsley

Garlic Prawns – Sizzling prawns cooked with garlic, chilli, shallots and parsley

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Mordeo Bistro and Bar, Sydney CBD

The Deutsche Bank building is one of the most striking office blocks in the city, with the glass elevators shooting up the interior of the heavy glassed walls, reminiscent of those found in the chocolate factory of Roald Dahl’s imagination. The food court located within is a cool haven from the bustling streets, a huge, airy space dominated by long, rectangular water features. I had first eaten at Mordeo Bistro and Bar during a work lunch and was so pleased with my meal, I dragged my boyfriend along at the next possible opportunity. I was fascinated by the jamon and pineapple cocktail (I’m a sucker for unusual combinations) and that impression was not lessened on the drink’s arrival.

Jamon & Chargrilled Pineapple Sazerac - Jamon Prosciutto & Pedro Ximenez Butter infused Hennessey V.S.O.P. Cognac, chargrilled pineapple syrup & a dash of bitters served with a Jamon & Sage Sugar Crisp

Jamon & Chargrilled Pineapple Sazerac – Jamon Prosciutto & Pedro Ximenez Butter infused Hennessey V.S.O.P. Cognac, chargrilled pineapple syrup & a dash of bitters served with a Jamon & Sage Sugar Crisp

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Tokkuri Sake Wine Bar, Cammeray

An izakaya is a Japanese drinking establishment that also serves food. While Tokkuri in Cammeray boasts an impressive drinks list, with over 40 sakes on their menu, their selection of food is just as notable. This local izakaya has been around for a few years now, and I love the sleek, dark interior which is dominated by the bar and open kitchen, with colourful patterned futon mattresses stacked on long benches for seating. One of my favourite dishes is the kingfish jalapeno, which really packs a chilli punch that is matched perfectly with the coolness of the kingfish and cirtus yuzu.

Kingfish Jalapeno - fresh kingfish with jalapeno, coriander and yuzu-soy

Kingfish Jalapeno – fresh kingfish with jalapeno, coriander and yuzu-soy

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