Bloody YES. This is what we’re talking about. A Peruvian charcoal chicken bar from the guys behind Pastuso and San Telmo, kitted out with empanadas, house-made chicken salt and—hold your breath—dulce de leche soft serve.
You really shouldn’t need a review after that. You should already be racing to the car, saliva flying from your mouth like a rabid dog. But for the sake of professionalism, here’s everything you need to know about CHE.
CHE takes its name from an Argentine slang word for ‘buddy’, and it’s probably more accurate to call this place a Latin American charcoal chicken bar. The flavours are handpicked from across the continent, but the hero is the chicken itself, marinated for 48 hours in Peruvian chillies and dark beer, then roasted over a charcoal grill. Chef Alejandro (the genius behind Pastuso), is the brains behind the menu. We’re used to seeing him all chef’d up, but at CHE you can tell he’s just having a ball: black t-shirt and baseball cap, big beard and those trademark glasses, slinging chicken from behind the bar with a big grin on his face.
That happiness manifests in the menu. You can’t have charcoal chicken without chips, and these are some of the best we’ve tried all year. Double fried, going by the crunch, and coated in a proprietary chicken salt, made by Alejandro himself from smoked chicken skins, ground up into a finger-licking powder. Goes great with a side of chimichurri or salsa criolla.
Empanadas make up the other half of the menu, and come in four speeds, traditional beef, corn & cheese, smoked beef or smoked chicken. The salad menu is there for roughage (who’s ordering salad at a charcoal chicken bar?)—we’d recommend going straight to dessert instead. For one big reason: the Helados ice-cream. Dulce de leche soft serve, piped into a cute little cone, and covered with your choice of roasted macadamias or malbec & blueberry jam (go the jam). Friggen nuts.
Image credit: CHE