Colombian Sundays @ Piqueos

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Piqueos.
A restaurant inspired by travels to Peru and Argentina, Piqueos delights with a menu of regional and street dishes that best represent these two countries.
Recently, Colombian dishes have started making their debut at Piqueos on Sundays. While the rest of the week the restaurant focuses on Peruvian and Argentinean cuisine, Sundays are an opportunity for passionate Colombian head chef Juanito Berbeo (Juan) to cook the food he was brought up with. 
Our poison on this occasion were Pisco Sour cocktails, a typical of South American drink made with pisco (the base liquor) lemon juice, syrup, ice, egg white, and bitters. We adored this heady, frothy mixture of sweet and sour.
Our lunch started with a selection of delicious Colombian piqueos, small appetizers which made up a light first course for our meal.
Colombian empanadas

These delicious fritters were beautiful. They were each filled with an amalgamation of tender beef, rice, smashed peas and egg. The outer crust which was made with masarepa, the precooked cornmeal that is used to make arepas were perfectly crisp. We enjoyed paring each bite of the empanada with the various dipping sauces. 
Cebiche - chargrilled octopus, scallop, leche de Tigre

The cebiche was beautifully presented and tasted even better than it looked. It was a wonderful mélange of different textures, natural sweetness and acidity. Tidbits of fresh cured scallops were embellished with juicy chargrilled octopus and corn; pockets of herbs added the final touch to an enlivening combination of ingredients. 
Lechona - 10 hour slow roasted pig filled with pork, rice and spice

The lechona was addictively good. In South America and in Colombia, Sundays are all about families and this often means sitting down and sharing a Lechona - much like the one we indulged in pictured above. A pork dish, made from a whole pig stuffed with pork meat, rice, split peas and spice which is then roasted for 12+ hours, this dish is comfort food at its best. It’s got it all - crackling, tender meat and amazing flavour.
Yuca frita Hand cut yuca chips

Piqeuos’ cassava chips were a welcome deviation from the potato chip norm.
Manjar blanco

A Peruvian and Argentinian influenced dessert of mocha and pisco mousse, maqui berry and peanut crumble was a delightfully sweet end to our visit. 
Sundays at Piqeous are an opportunity to taste Juan’s delicious Colombian heritage amongst other delicious Piqueos staples. 

Location: 298 Rathdowne St  Carlton North,
Phone: 03 9349 2777
Cuisine: Peruvian, Argentinian, Colombian, Wine Bar, Latin American, Barbecue

Piqueos on Urbanspoon

Smith & Daughters - First taste feast

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Smith & Daughters.
Location: 175 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Phone: 03 9939 3293
Cuisine: Latin American, Southern/Soul, Vegetarian, Vegan
Overall Impression: 8/10
Smith & Daughters is a commitment to expanding and perfecting the dynamic food culture of plant-based cuisine. Owned by chef, Shannon Martinez and business gal, Mo Wyse, Smith & Daughters' offering is entirely vegan.
With Shannon heading the kitchen, the restaurant is in safe hands. Shannon is an award-winning, former head chef of The Sweetwater Inn, South (Collingwood's People's Market), and The Gasometer Hotel. Together with business partner and front-of-house manager, Mo, the pair share over thirty years of hospitality, food preparation, cooking, marketing and management experience between them. What is evident is the passion they bring to the table and a belief that their unique product will inspire change.
Located on a historic corner on Brunswick Street (former headquarters of the pacifist movement during World War Two) the space has a moody ambience and a brilliant vibe.
The menu features Latin cuisine, highlighting small plates and mains from Spain, Central and South America featuring favourites like Pazole, Paella, Chorizo, Ceviche, and Croquetas, with their alcoholic significant others: Aqua Frescos, Jalapetio Lemonade, Sangria, Margaritas, and Caipirinhas. The ingredients used are locally-sourced and organic where possible.
As vegan as the dishes are, they are concocted without a single sacrifice to flavour. Every dish was a wonderful vegan interpretation of the original. We particularly loved the “tuna” and pea croquetas. Each morsel had a perfectly crisp crumbed layer which encased a silky smooth filling which was beautifully flavoured. 
Smith & Daughters is the collaboration of two women with a strong commitment to bring the world delicious food without a single animal product on site. Their compassion, commitment and sense of empowerment make this restaurant one to watch.

Smith and Daughters on Urbanspoon

Date with Helados Jauja (ice cream appreciation masterclass)

Location: 254 Lygon Street, Carlton
Phone: 03 9041 2927
Cuisine: Desserts/Ice Cream, Latin American, Breakfast/Brunch
Overall Impression: 8.5/10
Helados ‘Jauja' (pronounced “hkow-hka”) is winning Melbourne over one scoop at a time by serving delicious, authentic and unique artisan ice creams and sorbets - all meticulously handmade using real ingredients. That means no artificial flavouring, colouring, or gelatine.
Gastrology bloggers went on an amazing ‘Date with Jauja’ where we were spoiled with samples of 26 flavours (with plenty of seconds), a triple scoop ice cream cone and a regular pack of our choice of flavours to take home. 
On top of being an indulgent afternoon filled with the most decadent and delightful icecreams, we were taken on a journey where we heard how ice cream is made and better understood the process and philosophy behind Helados Jauja and why their ice creams are so special. 
At Helados Jauja, every detail counts. Take their black sesame ice cream for example which requires an arduous three days to prepare. No effort is spared to make each flavour and ice cream the best it can be.  
In terms of flavours, Helados Jauja stocks 24 flavours on site on any given day. Some of the flavours may change from time to time but we have been promised that you will always have 24 flavours waiting for you. 
The flavours range from traditional lemon sorbets to durian ice cream and even an exotic Yerba Mate which is an Argentinian tea. And staying true to its Argentinian roots, there are 3 dulce de leche flavours that are permanently on the menu. 

For chocolate lovers, Helados Jauja's Cocoa Decadence is chocolate heaven and made with 80 per cent pure cocoa extracts - luxurious and decadent. The Dark Side is another one that will please any chocolate lover and was our favourite chocolate flavour as we loved its lighter texture and its clean, bittersweet chocolate flavour. 

From the flavours we tasted at the masterclass, our favourites included the Mango sorbet, Durian (strictly for Durian lovers ONLY), Yerba Mate and the Walnut dulce de leche. 
Helados Jauja’s ice-cream is all about perfecting the basics. The quality ingredients matched with hard work means the results speak for themselves - texturely perfect ice creams with beautiful flavour combinations. The passion for artistic expression using quality ingredients can be tasted in their ice cream. Each flavour is made with love, dedication and artisanship.
Go on a date with Helados Jauja! 
For the $50 ticket price, your date includes a sample of all 24 flavours, a triple scoop ice cream cone and a regular pack of your choice of flavours to take home.

Helados Jauja on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers attended the ice cream appreciation masterclass courtesy of Helados Jauja