Gwen O’Toole is an accomplished writer focusing on travel, food, wine and events management. Follow her on Instagram @Gwennieo
Published September 27th 2016
Say 'Hola' to El Atino's new dinner menu
While El Atino & Co has been serving up Latin-inspired fare for nearly a year now in Richmond, their new dinner menu is now available.
Located on Bridge Road, you'll find not just a menu reflective of Latin cuisine, but also a food store where Melbournians can buy authentic ingredients such chimichurri, flatbreads, tortilla flour, and more to recreate their favourite flavours at home.
Inside, El Atino & Co shies away from the cliché bold colours and opts for a more subtle look giving it more of a traditional cafe sort of feel where you'd easily settle in for a breakfast of avocado and cilantro eggs or a dulce de leche jaffle for brunch.
A curious take on a South American traditional dish; the sweet potato ceviche. Image:The Ideas Library.
We started with a house special for the night of sweet potato ceviche with toasted corn, a clever twist on traditional ceviche (pictured above). The menu also regularly offers a zucchini version of the same dish which is quite popular too.
With a menu designed to share (so it's ideal for dining as a couple or with a group of mates) we also ordered the traditional Argentinean-style mini beef empanadas served with chimichurri (a olive oil based sauce made with a variety of chopped herbs including parsley, garlic, coriander/cilantro and spices).
Mini beef empanadas at El Atino & Co. Image:The Ideas Library
The menu offers a decent variety and if you aren't familiar with Latin food, you can opt for the 'Feed Me' style menu where for $49 per person, Chef will choose a variety of dishes to enjoy. Just let them know of any dietary requirements and leave the decisions to the kitchen. Or if you like the idea of surprise but don't want to go 'all-in' opt for ordering the mystery taco from the menu, which is chef's choice and changes frequently.
The cazuela de queso at El Atino & Co. Image:The Ideas Library.
The cazuela de queso is another favourite with ricotta and zucchini flower baked in salsa ranchera with a cheesy crust on top (pictured above) and the signature 'surf and turf' of calamari stuffed with house made pork longaniza (similar to chorizo) and sundried tomato-spinach pesto (below).
Surf and turf reimagined at El Atino & Co in Richmond. Image:The Ideas Library
We finished up with jalapeños stuffed with goats curd and fresh tomato salsa, served over a incredibly fragrant banana leaf (below). There's also a few dessert option that you might want to save some room for including a traditional flan or the chocolate brownie filled with dulce de leche and served with home made dulce de leche ice cream.
The menu also offers a solid selection of wines (many of course from South America) plenty of beer and cocktail options too.
Hello jalapenos at El Atino & Co in Richmond. Image:The Ideas Library
Check out their website for upcoming special events including Mexican fiesta nights (book early as they sell out) as well as degustation nights where you can try several dishes from the menu. And if you're keen, enrol in one of El Atino & Co's cooking classes, which are held fairly regularly in the kitchen. And make sure to buy all the ingredients you need to whip up your own Latin American feast before you leave.