Food and Drink


Sonido Hits The Right Note

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Back when Sonido was being lovingly constructed behind closed doors, most passers-by were expecting a record shop to pop up on the premises. Going by the stacks of record sleeves plastered over the Palladian-style windows, it was an easy mistake to make. Once Sonido’s curtains dropped in July, the reason behind the records became apparent.

Meaning ‘sound’ in Spanish, Sonido is a café where informal South American food meets a laboriously acquired record collection of similar origins. At the back of the café lies owners Santiago and Carolina’s stack of vinyl treasures – comprising both older and contemporary music from their home of Colombia and their neighbours. With the record player always rolling, Santiago encourages customers to rifle through the records and change the music at their leisure.

If it sounds like living-room behaviour, you’d be right. Sitting in Sonido’s cosy surrounds is a highly personalised experience; the room filled with Colombian trinkets and paraphernalia, and the two owners always involved in the making of the food and drinks. Coming from graphic/industrial and web design backgrounds respectively, Santiago and Carolina’s sensitivities to the finer details really shine through in the café’s rich interior.

The menu is simple, and is split into three sections: arepas, empanadas and sweets. The arepas – unleavened discs of corn bread – are the standouts on the menu, and come in a range of forms. Try the beef or the black bean and feta varieties for authentic South American fodder, or for traditional breakfast-lovers there is the delicious Arepa Con Huevos: scrambled free-range eggs with spring onion and tomato served on a light and crispy arepa. For a cheap snack, the Arepa de Queso (gooey cheese-filled arepas served with salsa, guacamole and a generous slab of butter) is an addictive option.

As for the coffee, customers can pick from the local Supreme Fair Trade Organic blend or a rotating menu of South American single-origin varieties, each being served with a teensy wooden spoon to boot. If Santiago tries to talk you into the Colombian hot chocolate, however, let him. Served with a generous dollop of ‘fresco’ cheese (yes, cheese!), this unexpected variation on – let’s face it – a pretty standard drink has the ability to convert perhaps even the most devout coffee addicts.

One of the great things about Sonido is its friendliness towards gluten-free customers. Four out of the five arepas are gluten free, as are all the sweets on the menu.

Though integral to its coziness, Sonido falls short in its size, and during busy times it can be difficult to get a seat. Having just opened an outdoor area however, customers’ chances of securing a spot are rapidly improving. So get down quick, guard your table and change the record on your way back from the loos. Just don’t blame us when you can’t get Javier Solís out of your head for days after your visit.


69 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

Opening hours: Tues-Fri 8.30am-4pm, Sat/Sun 9am-4pm


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