25 Apr Club Colombia, Melbourne CBD
The people behind Cento Mani are spreading their passion for their Columbian heritage by opening a second restaurant, Club Colombia. Like Cento Mani, things are pretty casual, but the brighter, more colourful and more open space allows them to host live music that is audible from down the street.
All the floor staff are Colombian, and as they go through the menu and bring dishes to the table, they’re able to give detailed descriptions, embellished with the stories behind them. The tomato-based Caribbean Prawn Ceviche is a tangy way to get the tastebuds firing. Chicharron Envigadeño con papa criolla is a dish of super crunchy deep-fried pork belly and Colombian yellow potatoes that are sweet and creamy. Plantains feature heavily in the menu, and the first thing we try is the Fried Green Plantain with hogao, Colombian sour cream and guacamole. The combination of hogao, a tomato and onion sauce, with the guacamole and pulled beef was a tasty combination.
Larger dishes include the flavoursome and comforting Colombian Rice with prawns and chorizo, cooked on a base of coconut milk, and Slow-cooked Pork Spare Ribs cooked with sugarcane sauce and aguardiente. There’s a neat selection of sides too. Our favourite are the Yuquitas Fritas, fried cassava sticks, which go particularly well with the Colombian sour cream.
The Tres Leches cake, commonly cooked by grandmothers, is a dessert for real sweet tooths. Colombian Oblea is a crispy cookie sandwich filled with arequipe (Colombian milk caramel), mixed berry sauce, whipped cream and mozzarella cheese. The cheese sounds like an odd combination, but it adds a bit of bite and creamy flavour, and also mellows the sweetness of the caramel. It’s meant to be picked up and eaten like a regular sandwich, making it a bit tricky to share. You might not want to anyway.
Club Colombia is a welcoming place where Melbournians can have a taste of both Colombian food and culture.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Club Colombia as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time.
118 Queen St
Melbourne CBD, VIC, 3000
(03) 9024 0152