La Chinesca, the Chinese-Mexican diner on Collins Street, has taken a purely Peruvian turn and morphed into Harley House Picanteria. "I conquered their hearts with Peruvian food," says Peruvian-born chef Daniel Salcedo of persuading owners, property developer Robert Hargrave and artist Vincent Fantauzzo, to make the change.
The menu features ceviche, small plates such as blue cheese and leek croquettes or antichucos (beef heart), and dishes from the char-grill such as Ranger Valley steak with huacatay (an Andean herb commonly used in Peruvian cooking).
The room is striking and comfortable with rendered concrete pillars, custom-made leather chesterfield-style booths and many of Fantauzzo's works, including his highly regarded portrait of the late actor Heath Ledger, a winner of the Archibald's people's choice award.
Jonny Cortizo, most recently at Fatto in Hamer Hall, is managing the floor. "Pisco sours and ceviche are a strong focus," he says. "But all of Daniel's authentic dishes are already seeing us full most nights."
Harley House Picanteria is open for lunch on weekdays, and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday.
Harley House Picanteria, 71 Collins Street (corner of Strachan Lane), Melbourne 9663 8333 harleyhouse.com.au