Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Las Chicas, Balaclava by Big Fil

As part of my continuing mission to try every decent eating place within walking distance of either work or home, last weekend I visited the extremely popular Las Chicas (The Girls). Having heard that this place packs out I made the effort to get here by far too early o'clock (around 7.30am). At this time of the morning there were only a few people around, almost as many staff as customers.

The set up inside is really nice, with warm and inviting colours and good music playing at an appropriate level in the background.

Triple chocolate muffin

Blueberry with white chocolate muffin

When ordering some triple chocolate and blueberry with white chocolate muffins I was greeted by those magic words 'Sorry, but the muffins are still in the oven and will be another 10 minutes'. More than happy to wait, the muffins turned out to be a bit crumbly but delicious in taste. The triple chocolate muffin was particularly good, hot and gooey with the melted chocolate on top combining with the butter provided on the side. They were also nearly large enough to form a breakfast on their own.

The breakfasts were a bit of a mixed bag. The breaky bruschetta, with scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, spinach, pesto and pinenuts looked really bright and colourful. However as an early morning breakfast it wasn't quite to my taste. While all the elements were good I found that they were all very strong flavours that seemed to compete rather than complement each other. I think I would have preferred this as just scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast.

Again the pancakes with bacon and maple syrup looked better than they tasted. The serve was extremely generous, but the pancakes lacked that crispness on the outside and the bacon was surprisingly lacking in flavour.

Pick of the breakfasts was undoubtedly the poached fruit with pistachio ricotta and cinnamon toast. The presentation of this was a little strange but the flavours were so nice that I seriously considered ordering a second serve. The fruit was sweet and well balanced between being soft and firm. The cinnamon toast was nicely toasted and flavoured but the highlight was the pistachio ricotta. I'd never had this before but it was soft, subtle and delicious. Definitely a winner on a cold morning.

Good food, good service, reasonable prices in a stylish setting. While not my favourite Melbourne café (Mart 130 anyone?) its closer to home and I'd have no issue at all with a return visit.

Ambience - 8
Service - 7.5
Food - 7.5
Price - 6.5

203 Carlisle Street
Balaclava VIC 3183
Tel: (03) 9531 3699

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