What to order at Pastore

Published on 29 October 2019

Photo: Pici with sausage ragu and ricotta salata (photo: Kristoffer Paulsen)

Scott Pickett is sharing the love. The chef who made his name with a single shopfront on High Street, Northcote is about to hang out his shingle in Melbourne’s south-east with Pastore, an all-day restaurant at the brand-new Hotel Chadstone. Combining Pickett’s current love affair with all things Italian and his fascination for cooking over fire, the menu is a mix of rustic pastas, such as red wine-sauced spaghetti all’ubriaco, and char-grilled crowd-pleasers, including bistecca alla Fiorentina and spring lamb with charred leek. Guests at the hotel, meanwhile, can also partake in the pleasures of Pastore with the kitchen offering a tight selection of the restaurant’s dishes for room service. Here Pickett and chef Mirco Speri walk us through what’s what at the restaurant, which opens on 1 November.

Scott! What are we having?
Scott Pickett: It’s no secret that I love cooking over fire, so the dry-aged 1.2-kilogram bistecca is a favourite for me straight off the bat, as are the wood-grilled Spencer Gulf king prawns with fermented tomato and ’nduja – they’re huge!

How about a drink?
Scott: Our Native Negroni is an absolute standout. We took the classic and put an Australian spin on it, using all Australian spirits such as Applewood Okar Amaro, Maidenii Sweet Vermouth and our own Pickett & Co Gin.

I’m here for a good time not a long time. What should I order?
Scott: In that case the house-cured Great Ocean Road duck prosciutto with Geraldton wax is gorgeous to eat. You might like a glass of GD Vaira Langhe Rosso to go with it. It’s a blend of nebbiolo, barbera and dolcetto, and I reckon it pairs especially well with the earthy saltiness of the prosciutto but also holds up against the aniseed flavour of the Geraldton wax.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Got anything light and fresh?
Mirco Speri: How about wood-grilled heritage zucchini with buffalo mozzarella and tossed with hazelnut pesto? It’s lighter than a bowl of pasta while still packing a punch.

I like tasty food but I don’t eat animals.
Mirco: The ricotta gnudi is a great vegetarian option. It’s little dumplings of ricotta, breadcrumbs, spinach and parmesan with broad beans and cavolo nero.

Which dish would you say is quintessentially Pastore?
Mirco: We’ve spent hours searching for the authentic dishes that would capture the true heart of the Italian countryside. The slow-braised goat with green olives, silverbeet and preserved lemon is right up there.

I see you’ve got some native Australian ingredients woven into the menu, too. What’s your favourite example?
Mirco: I have to say the way the native Australian ingredients complement and blend with Italian fare is a constant surprise to me. The wood-grilled octopus with native pesto is a great pairing of a classic ingredient and a native twist.

What dishes would make nonna sing with pride?
Mirco: I think nonna would have a hard time saying no to the pici pasta with Tuscan-style sausage ragù and ricotta salata.

Let’s go big. What have you got for us if we want to go crazy?
Scott: How about Sher wagyu cooked over cherry wood, or the marron and black truffle risotto? The risotto is great alongside the 2014 Wood Park 'The Tuscan' cabernet, sangiovese and syrah blend from the King Valley. The Italian grapes have been used so well in that region and this dish really sums up the way local and Italian flavours combine beautifully.

Pastore, 1341 Dandenong Rd, Chadstone,(03) 9108 3333, pastorerestaurant.com.au

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