Alison enjoys writing about all the great attractions Melbourne has to offer, and writing for her blog www.notforblokes.wordpress.com
Published November 9th 2011
These days, living in a house with tweens and working full time, long leisurely brunches after a big night out on the town seem a thing of the past.
So when I do get the very rare opportunity to indulge, I am keen not to squander the opportunity.
And one cafe I continually return to knowing I will be very satisfied with my choice is Las Chicas Cafe in Carlisle Street, Balaclava. Which is kind of North St Kilda, only not recognised as such on the map.
Las Chicas is located at the bottom of the train ramp for Balaclava station, and the traffic that passes through the cafe is the equal of the station on any week day morning.
A strict no booking policy means sometimes the waiting time and queue can be a little frustrating. But if you are prepared to sit and watch the passing street parade on Carlisle Street, you will be aptly rewarded for your patience.
For the food here is quite simply some of the most delicious, and original, brunch food I have ever had the pleasure of consuming.
The menu has around four pages of dishes to choose from for "breakfast" and breakfast runs all day.
From the breakfast menu, you can choose a "healthy" option, vegetarian and non-vegetarian, or a range of breads, bagels and muffins.
After many visits, and even with the help of my co-diners, I am yet to have sampled every tasty treat on offer.
My personal favourite is the salmon bruschetta brekky, which is a feast of scrambled eggs, spinach, smoked salmon, pesto and pine nuts atop a perfectly toasted slab of multi-grain.
And while I cannot manage to finish the whole plate, what I do eat is always enough to sustain me for the rest of the day until a light dinner much later. Which is of course what "brunch" is intended to do.
On my most recent visit, one friend who is a self-proclaimed foodie chose from the healthy options and proclaimed the poached fruit with pistachio ricotta and cinnamon toast was "divine".
Another popular choice is the Brekky Burrito of scrambled eggs, bacon, aioli and rocket wrapped in a tortilla and topped with avocado and fresh tomato salsa. Undoubtedly an excellent hang over cure.
Of course a cafe is not really a cafe if it does not serve good coffee. Las Chicas does, although the chai latte served to my friend with full tea service was the highlight of the drinks last weekend.
Las Chicas pulses with energy, and the décor and mohawked, tattooed and pierced waitresses help those escaping suburbia settle into the cafe's unique groove.
But Las Chicas is not so uber-cool you are afraid to take your kids there. My ten-year-old son nominates it as his favourite cafe in the world - he's been to a few in his time.
Of particular attraction to my children are the pancakes. Their favourites are the bacon and maple syrup topping, or the banana, strawberry, pistachio ricotta and maple topping.
Although they are yet to actually finish their meals at Las Chicas. Especially as the pancakes usually come after they have skulled a fresh juice such as the apple/strawberry/mint combination.
I highly recommend you make the journey to Las Chicas. Parking is easy (free out the back), and once you're settled in and your hunger has been well and truly sated, you won't want to leave.