27 Feb Popol Nah, Carlton
Translating to ‘The People’s House’, Popol Nah brings us Latin American food in a casual atmosphere. The menu is divided into chicos (small plates), carnes (larger meat plates), and intermedios (in between). It’s designed for sharing, though you could order dishes for yourself if so desired – most people on our table did.
I was keen to try a couple of different things so opted to share a few dishes between three. We started with two chicos: the bolinhos de bacalhau and the chicharron. The cod croquettes were pleasingly crunchy, though I thought its innards were a tad dry. The pork belly had a nice, subtle roasted flavour and the salsa verde had a pleasing bitterness that suited the pork belly well.
Our single intermedios plate was the albondigas. These meatballs were surprisingly dense but had plenty of flavour with all those added spices. Pineapple, capsicum, chilli and spring onion helped keep things fresh.
Our meat dishes arrived soon after. The lamb shanks were only OK; I didn’t find the flavours punchy enough and there wasn’t that much meat on the bone.
On the other hand, the marrano caramelizado was the best dish of the night. The pork was so tender and tasty and the glaze not too sweet, despite what the menu description made it out to be.
Overall, there was a mix of good and OK dishes, though nothing particularly bad. Serving sizes are on the small side so be sure to order slightly more than you normally would. Popol Nah also opens for breakfast and lunch so there are plenty of dishes to try out.
171 Lygon St
Carlton, VIC, 3053
(03) 9347 3293