09 Aug Che, Fitzroy
Hey Fitzroy, there’s a new chicken joint in town. This one is by Chef Alejandro Saravia and the rest of the team behind San Telmo and Pastuso: Renee and Jason McConnell, and David and Michael Parker. CHE is a cosy little place, occupying the space that used to be Shocolate, though there’s also outdoors seating around the side.
You’re greeted by twin chickens before reaching the front door, which is adorned with an empanada handle. They’re clearly serious about their empanadas here. ‘Che’ is a word used in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay meaning ‘mate’, or ‘buddy’. It’s also a play on words, with CHE becoming an acronym for Chicken, Helados and Empanadas – their three specialties.
Those aren’t the only three things on the menu though. There’s a range of salads, including a tangy number with quinoa, pickled cucumber, crispy kale, broccoli and golden beetroot.
At the moment CHE serves four varieties of empanada. The flavoursome traditional beef empanada contains currents, egg and a slight tangy hit from green olives. Corn and cheese, smoked beef and smoked chicken are the other tasty options.
Free-range chicken is marinated in Peruvian spices and dark beer for 48 hours, then cooked rotisserie-style over a charcoal grill. A number of sides and sauces are available to go with the juicy chicken; don’t skimp on the chips. They’re super crispy, as if they’ve been twice-cooked, and seasoned with chicken salt. Also delicious is the Pollo Rollo, which is filled with roast chicken, an apple, red cabbage and coriander slaw, pickled cucumber and fermented chilli sauce.
For sweets, there are alfajore biscuits filled with dulce de leche, and the smooth and addictive dulce de leche helados with the option of adding in salty roasted macadamias and/or malbec and blueberry jam.
Our taste of the menu tonight left quite the impression. I’m already thinking about when to return for more CHE.
Disclaimer: I was invited to CHE as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
Shop 3, 296 Brunswick Street
(Enter from Johnston St)
Fitzroy, VIC, 3065