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Wednesday 10 April 2024

When Chinese flavours meet Peruvian ingredients in Melbourne

Melbourne has one of the most cosmopolitan restaurant scenes on the planet, but it is about to get its first restaurant devoted to the Peruvian-Chinese fusion food known as chifa.

La Chinesca (now closed) offered some chifa dishes a decade ago but Casa Chino, to open on Thursday in hip Brunswick, will focus on the cuisine created by Chinese migrants when they encountered unfamiliar ingredients in the South American country more than 100 years ago.

Casa Chino will be a 90-seat bar and restaurant concept showcasing dishes that marry the aromatic spices of Cantonese cooking with the vibrant ingredients of Peruvian fare.

The venue is a sibling of Brisbane's Casa Chow and part of the Talisman Group, led by industry veterans Vincent Lombino and Jared Thibault, who have devised food and beverage concepts for QT Hotels and Ovolo Group.

Peruvian-Belgian culinary expert and head chef Kevin Galdo has put together the menu.

Dim sums and Peruvian-style skewers called brochetas will star, along with wok-fried rice and noodle dishes. So dishes like crab and prawn toast with creamy rocoto, tobiko and bonito, and blistered pepper skewers with salsa blanca and furikake.

Thibault has crafted a cocktail menu that celebrates the quintessential Peruvian spirit, pisco, with a selection of pisco sours alongside a curated collection of international wines.

“Embarking on this culinary adventure, we have meticulously curated each dish to serve as a sensory gateway to the vibrant flavours of chifa in Peru," says Lombino.

"We aim to create an immersive experience, allowing guests to feel a profound sense of connection and escapism with every sip and bite.

“Casa Chino beautifully captures the essence of our concept, emphasising the heartfelt nature of our endeavour. A significant portion of our menu is a tribute to the cherished family dishes that Jared's late wife [Fiorella Aguila] grew up with in Peru, adding a deeply personal touch to our offerings.

"As chifa cuisine gains momentum, we’re thrilled to be one of the first to bring our interpretation of chifa to Australia and into the rich fabric of the Melbourne and Brunswick dining scene, sharing not just a meal, but a piece of our hearts and the rich culinary heritage that inspired us."

To celebrate its grand launch, Casa Chino will be hosting a Block Party on Friday, April 12, from 5-7pm.

For details see

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