Food and Drink
Posted by Nola James
08. Feb, 2012
Hipsters up front, kids out back. Now that’s how you divvy up your cafe space, Carolina. Not quite two weeks old, Carolina has set up shop in the old shoemakers on Nicholson Street (you know the one, it was there forever). It is breakfast, it’s brunch, it’s lunch… and a little bit of after hours too.
The delightful interior is a nod to the venue’s history. Old shoemaking tools hang with the toys of their era – yhatzee or hookey anyone? Polished wooden booths provide welcome privacy for those who are sick of cafe tables placed too close together and a window seat is best for people watching. Out the back you’ll find a kid-friendly courtyard, rustic, unlike the polished interior. A sandpit will keep the little ones occupied while you luncheon in the sunshine.
Alongside great service the food is the star here. Organic and free range feature wherever possible, a pleasant surprise is the blanket use of free range pork as well as eggs.
Breakfast is more than just avocado on toast. Carolina starts the day with changing organic bircher muesli with organic yoghurt and poached fruit or delves into something more substantial with a Nordic influenced dish of house-smoked ocean trout, kipfler potatoes and poached eggs. Who needs toast anyway?
The lunch menu focuses heavily on healthy, substantial grains and super-foods. Don’t be scared, this is the stuff that could make any diet seem exciting. Current options include a salad of quinoa, pumpkin, snowpeas and tamari pepitas or puy lentils, beetroot, red cabbage and fetta. Four superstar baguettes (pastrami, cloth wrapped cheddar, house made mayo…ocean trout…marinated artichokes *drools*) will round out the lunch run. Expect these to change seasonally, and wish this cafe was next to your office.
To date they’re not on Facebook, they don’t have a phone and they don’t have Eftpos. But they’re working on it (the Eftpos part at least). Baby steps. And they’re not named after a Shaggy song either – you can safely point the finger at Ryan Adams.
11 Nicholson Street, Carlton North. Or Brunswick East. Depends who you ask.
Tuesday – Sunday, early to late
No phone. No website.
(Watch out for Google Maps, it will may and tell you this cafe is near the Melbourne Museum. It’s not. It’s near the corner of Nicholson and Holden streets)
In the first of our monthly peek behind-the-scenes of Melbourne's restaurant scene, we witness the mayhem and madness of Chin Chin's daily staff meal. Affectionately known at 'trough'.
We were lucky enough to attend Chin Chin's first birthday bash and document David Thompson's 13-course degustation as it happened.