Chato, located on High Street, Thornbury is Melbourne’s newest place to indulge in a touch of Spain. The brainchild of Maria and Jenny Echevarria-Lang, it delivers a range of scrumptious treats that have you salivating for more. Although not on the night we went. On the night Maria treated us to her full range of goodies, just like a Spanish mama. I was bursting at the seams. She kept feeding us.
After arriving in Australia from Spain more than 30 years ago, Maria launched her first restaurant in 1986 (before I was born!). By her own accord the restaurant was a ‘disaster’. The palate of ‘roast-and-three-veg’ Australia wasn’t quite ready to savour Spanish complexity. She honed her craft, bided her time, and has been pleasing people with her Spanish flair ever since.
Chato’s space is beautiful. The bar and window seats will be my perch on my next visit and are ideal for dates. The table settings are laid out more for the family experience, which, given Thornbury’s demographic makes perfect sense. The name, Chato, represents the small glasses of wine that go down all too easily.
As mentioned, on the night we were treated to a full display of Maria’s culinary skills. Melt-in-your-mouth lamb, stuffed calamari with an eye-popping green sauce, chorizo, squid ink infused calamari and so, so much more. The bite-sized pieces of joy that are the flamenca: quail egg and crispy serrano ham were a personal favourite. Don’t leave without trying them! They have become so popular with customers that Maria has had to include them on the menu at any time of the day.
Also make sure that you visit and spend some time in the the bathroom. You may find that your Spanish vocabulary… expands.
Rukmal (Ruki) is The Plus Ones’ Managing Director. He looks after the marketing, technology, and finance areas of TPO and loves nothing more than analysing data and optimising campaigns. Okay, perhaps building a global digital media company is a touch more interesting. While he rarely writes articles these days, preferring to leave it to our incredible staff writers, he can occasionally tap his right brain.
921 High Street