• San Telmo (Melbourne)

What is it that makes the cool kids cool?  It is not their manners.  It is not their kindness either.  And it certainly is not their talent and intelligence.  In the playground the cool kids have something else going for them.  Whatever this X-factor is, San Telmo has it.

San Telmo is an Argentinian tapas style restaurant with a plethora of food and Argentinian wines.  It specialises in shared plates, and whilst everyone gossips with their forks in different dishes, the atmosphere can be energised.

I enjoyed the 2010 Piattelli ‘premium’ chardonnay from Tupungato, Mendoza.  I was told it was sweet, but found otherwise.  It held a bitter tang on the mid-palate and a strange aftertaste.  It was golden in colour, clean and flat of acid.  It may have been open for some time.

Whilst we waited for our friend, we were harassed to order and after resisting, it came out that our table was booked at 8pm with the waitress rudely accusing:

“Yes, you know you have to be out by 8pm, you were told on your email, on your SMS and when you sat down.”

With such attitude we became uncomfortable. There was no note of this in the email, they did not send me an SMS, no one told us when I sat down.  When I explained that I had not known, she responded “yes you did” and walked away.

A little put off by her manner, we ordered a range of dishes and were a table of three by the time they arrived.

The cheese empanadas had crisp, hard pastry and were filled with provolone cheese, mozzarella, basil and capsicum.  The cheese was delicious and the hotness of chilli added an extra bite.

Chips were made from polenta and basil.  These were served in slabs with a chipotle mayonnaise.  The crust was crisp, while the interior was dense and spicy.

Broccoli was battered and fried in hot oil like tempura with grated ricotta on top.

The burnt carrots tasted as such and were flavoursome with the charring, smooth goats’ curd and thyme.

We also ordered sweet potato with spring onion, which similarly had a charred flavour.  The texture was like that of the food stalls in Beijing, hot and soft inside.

The food overall was tasty, but San Telmo is known for its dessert.  It was this that we wanted to try.  Unfortunately we did not have a chance.  As soon as our cutlery was together, we were asked to leave.  Yes, lovely.  No polite serving the customers here: get out, we told you so.

Whilst known for sweets, we left with a bitter taste in our mouths.  I understand that restaurants have two sittings, but do not push customers out when there are several other tables available and accuse them of lying when they are the ones paying the $180 bill.

I really hope the success of San Telmo does not last.  It is one thing to have quality food.  It is another to bully your customers.  I believe the deliciousness of each meal comes from the love put into it.  Dining at San Telmo was like being back at high school.  The cool kids kicked us out of the party.

San Telmo
14 Meyers Place
Melbourne 3000
03 9650 5525
San Telmo on Urbanspoon