Interesting artwork lines the walls, with one of the most eye-catching pieces being two panoramic photographs of the shops on Carlisle Street, by evening light. As well as framed artworks, the walls also bear a collage of posters.
Panoramic photographs of Carlisle Street. Image: Lava in Balaclava.
While the food at Lava in Balaclava is perhaps not as unique as some of the nearby places to grab a bite to eat, such as Ziggy's and YoChi, it has one important drawcard: its opening hours. From the wee hours of the morning until late in the night, Lava in Balaclava is open for business. Their doors are open almost every day of the year, Christmas Day being one of the rare occasions when shut up shop.
When my friend and I went for lunch on a public holiday, Lava in Balaclava was one of the few places on Carlisle Street that was open. They were reasonably busy, but has enough staff on that service was speedy.
Our meals from Lava in Balaclava.
Schnitzel fingers from Lava in Balaclava.
At about $17, the schnitzel fingers were a little disappointing in terms of value. For that price, I expected that there might be more than five pinkie-sized fingers beside the smattering of chips and salad. However, I had no complaints about the flavour of the schnitzel fingers, which were crunchy and hardly oily at all.
Chicken wrap from Lava in Balaclava.
My friend ordered the chicken wrap, which also came served with fries. At about $15, the wrap was much better value than the schnitzel fingers, and included a hearty selection of salad vegetables inside the wrap.
On a previous occasion, I have also had the chicken wrap, which I thought was nothing special but rather filling, and one of the cheapest items on the menu. Most of their dishes are quite basic, with a selection of pizza, pasta, burgers and more. With something for everyone, it is a family-friendly restaurant. Go late at night if you want to avoid children.