Las Chicas, Balaclava – perfectly rich coffees

I can’t go for many posts without writing about some sort of breakfast/brunch experience I recently had. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that I’m totally addicted to runny egg yolks and other brunchy goodness, and of course good coffee. My most recent experience was sadly (sort of) after a mini argument I had with Yuye. To make up, we decided to go for a drive in the rare sunshine we’re getting in this freezing rainy season and headed for Las Chicas on Carlyle St, Balaclava. I originally wanted to go for a drive along St Kilda beach but the meal was so filling that I just wanted to curl up and fall asleep. You know how it is.

After reading great reviews about this popular cafe, I couldn’t wait to try it out. Although the average experience I’ve had at such establishments were mostly less than my expectations. I’m not sure if a subconscious decision at the back of my mind to lower such expectations was the cause of my fantastic meal, but whatever it was, I was happy. Las Chicas has risen to the top 3 best breakfast/brunch/coffee restaurants in Melbourne.

How can a place that serve water in a vodka bottle go wrong right?

My first impression of the place didn’t give me much hope I must say. I had ordered a cappuccino, expecting great coffee art like the other places but out came the opposite – just a huge topping of cocoa powder. I was disappointed to say the least, until I had a taste. This was probably the best coffee I’ve had in a long long time. One of the best in fact. It was strong, creamy, aromatic, every I could have asked for in a good coffee. I’m obviously not a huge coffee expert but I know what I like.

That brings me to my lesson that day and that is to not judge a book by its cover, even though it’s natural to do that.

The coffee put me in a good mood, so much so that I felt like eating the Moroccan lamb tajine ($16.50) instead of the usual poached eggs on some sort of bread. It was a special of the day which came with lamb, couscous, chickpeas, pumpkin and plenty of tomatoes. It was beautiful. I actually didn’t like couscous much because I always found it a bit dry, unflavourful and just plain boring. I thought of it as a smaller and worser version of rice.

However, after tasting this tajine, I have changed my mind. Couscous can be quite nice! I loved the tender lamb mixed with the soft sweetness of pumpkin and the whole dish tied together quite well. It was just a bit too big for us and we finished our dishes holding our stomaches and untying our belts.

Yuye was more ordinary in his choice of the B.B.B. – Bikini Blowout Benedict. I have no idea why and how this name came about (actually I can guess from the heart attack rich and not-so-good-for-the-waistline ingredients) but I definitely know delicious it was. It consisted of avocado, bacon and 2 poached eggs on bagel toast topped with hollandaise ($19.50). Yuye also asked for their famous aioli which I believe was free.

It was unbelievably good. The fluffy bagel with the fragrant poppy seeds went perfectly with the runny yolk of the perfectly poached eggs, creamy avocado and crispy bacon rasher. Although the aioli was fantastic, it wasn’t needed to make this dish a winner. Just look at that egg! In fact, it may have been a good idea to get half egg serve (for $2.50 less) as it was so big we didn’t even eat dinner that night.

It was an unforgettable experience at Las Chicas. The food was wonderful, the coffee spectacular and staff as friendly as any good restaurant. Las Chicas is in a fantastic location, right beside Balaclava station on a busy shopping strip so I can see it getting crowded during peak lunch hours. Luckily I visited on a Wednesday after 1pm so this wasn’t a problem for us. If you do happen to visit, make sure you try their coffee and their splendid poached eggs.

Las Chicas
Phone:(03) 9531 3699
203 Carlisle St, Balaclava VIC 3183

Las Chicas on Urbanspoon

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24 comments… add one
  • Liz May 28, 2012, 11:51 am

    Wow, the food looks excellent! Glad you’ve found a wonderful new brunch spot 🙂

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake May 28, 2012, 8:34 pm

      I’m very glad as well, it’s a little bit of a drive for us but definitely worth going there for a good meal, and a good coffee.

  • kimberley May 28, 2012, 11:52 am

    YUM! I love a good eggs bene 🙂 thanks for your lovely comment on my blog too!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake May 28, 2012, 8:34 pm

      Thanks for visiting my blog as well! 😀 I love eggs benedict too, it’s what one of us always orders (actually, Yuye just loves ordering this) and it’s become a bit of a benchmark for breakfast/brunch spots for us. 🙂

  • joe May 28, 2012, 2:53 pm

    This Moroccan lamb tajine sounds interesting.
    Wonder of we will get it at other places too?

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake May 28, 2012, 8:32 pm

      I’m sure you’ll be able to find this dish at a lot of cafes…I’ve had tajines at other cafes before although not all were this good. 🙂

  • Selene May 28, 2012, 6:12 pm

    …in all the world summer isn’t coming!
    also in italy it was cold till some days ago… now is more warm but not as usually!
    need summer!
    really love your post!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake May 28, 2012, 8:32 pm

      You’re so lucky that summer is going your way Selene! I’m sitting in the living room with the heater on all day..I’m really a hot weather kind of gal, it makes me so much more energetic, not to mention the lighting is so much better in summer for taking food photos 😛

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook May 28, 2012, 6:24 pm

    Hi Jenny! Oh I need this place in my neighborhood. Honestly I’m enjoying your breakfast/brunch posts A LOT. We definitely stop going out for brunch after having our 2nd kid. It’s just so difficult to wait in a long line while kids are hungry etc… so no more great coffee and breakfast made by someone! So please do continue sharing… 🙂 This place looks AWESOME!!!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake May 28, 2012, 8:30 pm

      Thanks Nami! 😀 You can always make these brunch dishes at home, they’re not hard at all for your cooking skills. 🙂 I just wished I had a good coffee machine at home to go with all the food that I’m trying to make!

  • Libby May 28, 2012, 7:09 pm

    Ah, I love Las Chicas! I had one of their omelette dishes and it was divine – and gave me energy for the rest of the day for it was massive! The coffee isn’t bad either. Will definitely re-visit if I happen to be in the area!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake May 28, 2012, 8:29 pm

      Yes their dishes are HUGE! I wasn’t expecting to get such a big dish and we almost couldn’t finish it. Left one last spoonful of the tajine and a waitress came and asked “how’s everything going?” and I said “well I’m struggling to finish it, but it was beautiful” and she just looked at me and said “you have to finish that, it’s just a little left to go! Come on!”…so with her words, I did it. I finished the whole thing. It was an achievement, except that we had to walk around for half an hour afterwards and skipped dinner as well 😛

  • tastyfoodsnaps May 28, 2012, 7:10 pm

    ohh perfectly cooked oozey eggs! looked so yummy with the bagel and hollondaise sauce.. mmm!

  • love2dine May 28, 2012, 7:38 pm

    very impressed with the shots

  • Marta @ I love breakfast May 29, 2012, 5:31 am

    You must have loved the food, because your post is very optimistic 🙂 I’d love to taste this coffee. It’s not easy to find a nice, tasty cup of coffee. I’m happy you have a new nice spot!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake May 29, 2012, 3:35 pm

      I sure did love the food, and the coffee too 😀 It’s not too hard to find reasonable coffee here in Melbourne, but great coffee is a little harder. 🙂

  • Dana May 29, 2012, 2:23 pm

    That bagel looks amazing! You definitely don’t get food like that in Seattle.

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake May 29, 2012, 3:03 pm

      Hi Dana! 😀 You must’ve been to this cafe heaps when you were still here. 🙂 I’m sure coffee in Seattle’s still good right?

  • Ames May 29, 2012, 8:47 pm

    Love your description of this place, Jenny! And that BBB does look spectacular! I probably wouldn’t eat dinner after having that either 😛 Great photos!

  • Alana May 31, 2012, 11:39 pm

    I’ve heard so much about Las Chicas… but I wanted to stop by and mention your photography is really beautiful! Especially the photos of the bagel, wow wow.


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