A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published December 15th 2015
For Latin (Food) Lovers
The recently opened Lady Carolina's Latin Street Kitchen, located at 175-177 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, is the perfect venue for the balmy summer nights we're currently enjoying in Melbourne.
Casual dining experience with great Latin American food
The Street Kitchen is located behind the main restaurant, and is accessed from Glenlyon Road. Featuring casual outdoor furniture, synthetic grass and a food truck kitchen, Lady Carolina's Latin Street Kitchen feels like an authentic Latin American venue. But does the food match up?
Well yes. The menu offers a range of Latin American treats with all their spicy goodness. If you're prepared to tackle something a little different, try the alpaca meatball or the Cerveza tempura fish taquitos (each $12 for two pieces). We couldn't decide which to have so opted for the El jefe taquitos sampler (six pieces for $25). This was a great way to try the range, which also includes several vegetarian options.
The taquito sampler is a great way to get a range of flavours
The tortillas are 'nixtamal corn tortillas' and therefore gluten free. 'Nixtamalisation' is a process in which the corn is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, usually limewater, and then hulled.
We also tried an intriguing fusion dish - the Nikkei Dog ($12). This is described as a 'Japanese-Peruvian hot dog with ginger, sesame and amarillo sauce'. Rest assured that unlike the bland red-skinned, mass produced hot dogs bought in a supermarket, this is a 'hot' (spicy) hot dog, that is dripping with deliciousness and is literally 'finger licking good'. I'd go back for it.
The Nikkei Dog - finger licking good. (Pictured here with the 'Cool as a Cucumber' Agua Fresca of the day.)
The portion sizes are not huge, though reasonable for the price, and the perfect accompaniment for a drink. Lady Carolina's also boasts an impressive drinks list, including a range of Latin American based cocktails and beers. House wine is available by the glass ($8), carafe ($25) or bottle ($37). Also available are the Agua Frescas, a blend of fruits and spices with water and sugar, featuring flavour combinations such as purple corn, cinnamon, cloves, and tropical and citrus fruits which can be served with or without alcohol.
Dave, my partner, opted for a Desert Storm cocktail ($12), with Bacardi dark rum, rosella agave, lime and ginger beer. The ginger was particularly refreshing on a warm afternoon. I chose the Agua Fresca of the day, 'Cool as a Cucumber', which consisted of pineapple, orange, grapefruit and cucumber juices, laced with lychee liqueur and bourbon ($12). I enjoyed this combination and will try to replicate it at home.
Co-founder of Lady Carolina's, Alby Tomasi, has poured passion into this project: "I want people to feel like they are being transported into a Latin Wonderland when they walk through our Paladar and Pisco bar through to the Latin Street Kitchen. It is like falling asleep in Lima and waking up in Havana. We want our Lady Carolina faithful to feel the warmth of Latin America from the moment they walk inside."
Transported into a Latin Wonderland.
Lady Carolina and the Latin Street Kitchen are available for private functions and would be a great place to host parties, events or work gatherings.
Lady Carolina is open Tuesday - Thursday: 6pm - 11pm, Friday - Saturday: 12 noon - 12am, and Sunday: 12 noon - 11pm. It is currently closed on Mondays, but will be open seven days commencing 11th January 2016.
Please note that Lady Carolina will be closed from Thursday 24th December to Monday 4th January (inclusive).
One word of caution is that the Street Kitchen is not currently air conditioned, and from what we heard, it can become a bit of a hothouse on a particularly warm day. However, it is planned to install air conditioning while the venue is closed in December/January.
To make a reservation, go to the website, or phone (03) 9381 0898, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All images in this article were taken by the writer. These images are not to be reproduced in any form without the express permission of WeekendNotes.