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