12 Aug Buenos Dias, Carlton North
Buenos Dias! We could all do with a cheerful greeting every morning. What better way to start the day than with a good breakfast too? The three owners of the newly opened Buenos Dias are passionate about sharing the food and coffee of their home countries with us. On the menu they’ve chosen to feature dishes from a variety of Latin American cuisines, the countries of which are also represented by the different colours in the cafe’s logo.
The decor and interior design brings a jovial atmosphere to the cafe. The front counter is made from the front of a bus that’s been done up Colombian style. While you wait for your coffee you can appreciate colourful chalk drawings by the chef. If you sit in the main dining area, you might find yourself eating beside a condor, a toucan or perhaps a Kamentsá Colombian native.
Colombian Platano Asado are baked plantains with bocadillo (guava paste) and cheese. The caramelised plantains are firm and smooth, and the sweetness of the bocadillo is offset by the tanginess of the cheese. Salt Dusted Potatoes come with housemade sauces. Today there are three sauces on offer: smokey pebre, the tomato-based Columbian hogao, and the overwhelming favourite, chimichurri.
The chef has a background in molecular gastronomy and enjoys playing with his gadgets. A little bit of that comes out in the Royal Inca Eggs, which consist of slow-cooked, sous vide-style eggs with sourdough, smoked salmon, potatoes and spinach, all of which are tied together by the Tari-Tari sauce.
Chorizo are also made in-house, and they feature in the Chorizo Gaucho together with charred arepa and more of that delicious chimichurri. The sausages are hand-chopped rather than minced, and boiled before being fried, resulting in a softer texture than the chorizo we’re more used to. It’s peppery, and has a distinct pork flavour that’s allowed to come through with its simple accompaniments.
Calentao Rolo is an incredibly hearty Colombian dish of rice mixed with sliced chorizo, pulled pork and beans. On top of all this are two fried eggs, smashed avocado and an arepa. The arepa in this dish is of the white Colombian variety, which is made from a different variety of corn than the yellow arepa seen in the Chorizo Gaucho. Its texture is more firm and crisp rather than soft and pliable. The Calentao Rolo is tasty, and you definitely won’t be going home hungry.
We finish off brunch with some Alfajores, the buttery, melt-in-your-mouth Latin American sandwich cookies. In their own twist, the alfajores are coated in a thin layer of chocolate. We have the traditional version with dulce de leche, but there are also Nutella filled alfajores to enjoy.
There are so many same-same cafes nowadays that it’s refreshing to find something completely different. Buenos Dias will be selling their sauces soon, including that indulgent dulce de leche. Guess we’ll have to come back soon.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Buenos Dias as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
531 Nicholson St
Carlton North, VIC, 3054