Mon- Sun: 7am – 5pm
Coffee: Allpress Espresso
“Being a Melbournian, I am always puzzled to the naming of suburbs and their quirky elements. For example, there are suburbs with railway stations whose name has no relation to where it resides. In the suburb of Essendon there is a station called Glenbervie – where the name was derived from remains a mystery to me! On one particularly sunny Sunday we had traveled to a suburb named after a head-piece used to either keep your face warm or conceal your identity (Balaclava, in case you didn’t guess). Our destination was the very popular Las Chicas.
Las Chicas is located right next to the train bridge on Carlisle Street, home to the Lady of St Kilda. Las Chicas calls home to an eclectic crowd of people and tough surrounding competition. Even with the abundance of cafes Las Chicas clearly stands out, drawing a strong weekday and weekend crowd. It is a flamboyant cafe with its ideal corner location, graffiti logo and plenty of hot pink and bright colours as a running theme. There is plenty of seating out on the street, inside or in the back terrace. We were seated out the back on an enormous communal table. I didn’t mind it too much, but given it was filled with two or three parties it did detract from my initial buzz. There was confusion as to which food and drinks belonged where on the table and the guy sitting next to me had accepted my coffee by mistake (however, they were nice enough to give me another).
The coffee here is done by Allpress, an increasingly apparent favourite around Melbourne. My long black [$3.50] had arrived in a larger-than-expected cup and it did lose a little of its head. As expected, the blend provided a nice and smooth taste, however it didn’t quite meet the quality that other cafes achieved. This coffee didn’t have much of a fruity note, but rather there was a slightly sour taste. This may have been attributed to the size of the coffee or perhaps the beans were passed their ripeness. Overall, it was an enjoyable coffee but given the big presences of Las Chicas, I was expecting something more.
When it comes to food, Las Chicas has it all… just about literally. To say that their menu is extensive would be an understatement, with pages of options to satisfy the taste buds from the healthy, the small brunch and their selected favourites which are bursting with innovation. With plenty of options, the choice for brunch was not only hard but exciting. With Miss SL harping on about this amazing Brekky Burrito of scrambled eggs, bacon, aioli & rocket wrapped in a tortilla, topped with avocado & fresh tomato salsa [$17.60] I was curious to find out whether she was all talk or just extremely excited.
The burrito was as hearty has they get. Don’t be deceived by its delicate wrapping, as inside there is a generous amount of food. I would say that there is at least four eggs used to make this scramble, but they were prepared excellently. The eggs were juicy and was sprinkled with the right amount of oil. The bacon had a little bit of fat, however it was cooked to my liking – a little crispy, but also soft and juicy in the middle. The avocado and the fresh tomato salsa was a great finish to the dish, giving it that Mexican vibe. It was a terrific dish and was surely filling as I had no room for brunch dessert.
Food wise, I can see why Las Chicas is popular and gathers a big crowd on the weekend. Their freshly prepared food with impressive innovation has drawn me to really liking this set up. However, I think to really love this place requires a number of sittings because the menu is that big you feel you missed an opportunity to try that other alternative.”
“Everyday we begin a new journey and a few months back, my early morning Saturday morning began like this: Mr LB and I arrived home sometime around the 2am mark after a big night and a late-night cab. His car failed to start up again after a pit-stop at The Espy for late night dirty pizza. At 7:30am we rushed to pick up my car parked at a nearby train station whereby I proceeded to drive Mr LB to his dying car, leaving him to drop my own car off for servicing. It was 8am and nothing was opened. My past experience in cafe dining led me to search for nearby cafes where I could kill time for a couple of hours. The choices were between Monk Bodhi Darma and Las Chicas, whereby I chose Las Chicas. I’d had the Brekky Burrito of scrambled eggs, bacon, aioli & rocket wrapped in a tortilla, topped with avocado & fresh tomato salsa [$17.60]. I’d been telling Mr LB about it ever since.
We arrived to a quirky woodwork and a short wait on a sunny but chilly Sunday afternoon. The interior was beautifully matched – patchy, artistic wood paneling on one side of the walls with red brick on the other. It was split into two halves, with the second half slightly more spacious with casual, bare lighting hanging from the ceiling.
We arrived outside and I decided to order something a bit different, going for a Banana and honey smoothie [$6.50]. My stomach wasn’t ready to be stuffed with the Brekky Burrito, so I ordered what I thought might be a smaller, still Mexican-inspired dish: Chicken Tortilla – grilled chicken with coz, capsicum, cucumber, fresh tomato salsa, avocado, aioli all wrapped up in a toasted tortilla [$17.60]. The thing was huge!
Perhaps it was misaligned expectations, but I expected the chicken to be warm. It still tasted nice, but I spent half my experience trying to work out whether it was supposed to be a warm or cold meal. When I finally started eating the chicken within the tortilla, I realised that it was in fact meant to be served with warm chicken.
The vegetables in this dish were fresh and crisp – the cucumber was cooling and crunchy and the avocado was refreshing and simple. The chicken itself was a little dry and overcooked, and there was nothing particularly fancy about it. I guess the aioli was meant to infuse some flavour into the chicken, but it instead got lost amongst the vegetables and creamy avocado.
Overall the meal was hearty, healthy and freshly made. There is great novelty to be had in a Mexican-styled breakfast and Las Chicas would be an excellent solution for someone with a killer hangover and after a big breakfast without the grease. My advise for anyone going there – go for the brekky burrito – it’s a real winner!”
Final Thought: “Mexican inspired brunch”