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South American

In Dining, South American on
July 29, 2014

La Latina, Chatswood

We’re not afraid to travel for food (probably because there isn’t really much good food where we live), but thankfully, we don’t have to travel too far to have our first taste of Columbian food. Yay! 🙂

When we visit Chatswood, we tend to go for the many Asian restaurants that are there (of which there are many I’ve yet to try) so I probably would never have noticed La Latina on the side streets, were it not for the fact that we’d bought a groupon out of curiosity to have a taste of a cuisine we’d never tried before.

Passionfruit juice $5
 

It’s a cute little cafe specialising in arepas, but also stocks plenty of exciting South American snacks and sauces, as well as plenty of interesting fruit juices! The drinks menu consists of plenty of exotic fruits which we’ve never heard of before, making it a difficult decision to choose one– we want to try all of them!


The passionfruit picture on the menu is a different species of passionfruit than what we’re used to, with yellow skin instead of purple- we’re not sure if it’s for illustration purposes, or if the actual drink is made from the yellow passionfruit, but we order it anyway. It’s nice and freshing, with a nice sour kick, but not overpoweringly so, accompanied by a touch of sweetness.

Soursop Juice
 
I was quite intrigued by the picture of the soursop on the menu, which looked much like a long custard apple to me. The staff tried their best to describe the taste to me (although it is terribly difficult to describe fruits!) and told me it was quite nice, so I decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did- I really enjoyed it! It’s slightly similar to custard apple, in that it’s creamy texture is similar and you can sort of taste the distinct custard apple taste in it, but it’s quite different in that it is less sweet and much more sour (though not nearly as sour as passionfruit!)
 
They also stock frozen fruit blocks, which you can buy to take home and make your own fruit juices too, which I thought was pretty cool 🙂
 
 
The arepas (grilled corn breads) took a while to come (around 20 minutes), but that was expected, as these breads need to be cooked on low, slow heat. There’s no shortage of options for fillings, but we find it easier choosing off the pictures than the written menu, so we just pick the two pictures which look the nicest (which also happened to be the first two options). 
 
We were surprised at how much we actually enjoyed the arepas, they didn’t look too exciting, but tasted anything but. The slow cooking creates a soft fluff interior, whilst the exterior remains thick and crispy. The ratio of filling to bread is excellent, and the shredded mince filling is incredibly tasty, with plenty of sauce for the bread to soak up. 
 
 
Whilst we prefer the shredded beef filling over the chicken and avocado, the chicken and avocado is still really good, with soft, tender chicken shreds encased in a creamy avocado sauce. Given their small size, they are also surprisingly filling, leaving us a bit too full to head straight over to our next dining destination for dessert as we’d originally planned.
 
 
We’d also bought a voucher for Pop, Choc & Rock because no meal is complete without dessert (or rather we didn’t think that an arepa each would be very filling, giving us a perfect excuse to have dessert!). It’s a small cafe/ice cream shop at the edge of the food court at Westfield’s. They also sell some super cute ice blocks too which seemed to be pretty popular with the young kids who walked past (just don’t plan to visit during the school holidays like we originally did because their seating for 8 gets filled pretty quickly with children so you won’t get anywhere to sit down!). 
 
 
We got a waffle each, which was surprisingly good, the perfect balance of crisp and fluffy, drizzled with plenty of chocolate sauce. The dollop of chocolate ice cream was extremely chocolatey and would have been amazing on its own, if it had not been overshadowed by the sweetness of the waffle and chocolate sauce. We also tried their coffees, but we couldn’t really taste much but bitterness (even after adding two sugars), after the really sweet waffle- lesson learnt: eat your ice cream and drink your coffee before eating your waffle! 

La Latina on Urbanspoon

In Café, Dining, South American on
July 8, 2014

Bronte Belo, Bronte

After a booking at another restaurant got cancelled on us last minute, we called up Bronte Belo to see if we could get a table for the night, as we’d just purchased a group deal voucher the day before. Luckily, they were super accomodating and managed to squeeze us in on such short notice!

It’s a small cozy Brazilian cafe/restaurant by the beachside, making it a perfect spot to dine during the summer months when the sun sets later, but perhaps not so much in the cold freezing winter- we notice it is the only restaurant amongst the strip to not be empty!

Chilli and Garlic Prawns with crusty bread $15

Nevertheless, we get comfy snuggled up on the comfy cushioned sofa, with the door closed tightly and the heater on full blast.


The menu isn’t extremely extensive, but does contain a good mix of both classic and Brazilian options. For entrees we try the chilli and garlic prawns, which aren’t actually that hot. The prawns are fresh and juicy, and served alongside toasted bread, makes for a satisfying and filling entree.

Antipasto Board (half) $11

The antipasto board is great value, with an eggplant dip, jarlsberg, brie, smoked salmon, prosciutto, olives and toasted bread.

Coxinha $10

The coxinha are cute little brazilian croquettes with a spicy chicken filling. The little fried balls are soft and fluffy, with a delightful crunch on the outside, and extremely tasty too, although a little too salty for me.

Heart of Grain Fed Eye Fillet Steak $28

Service is friendly and efficient and the mains are brought over swiftly after we finish out entrees. The eye fillet steak at first looks quite small, but is actually a pretty decent serving. It is cooked perfectly (although it was a little cold by the time it was served), and served with a tasty green pepper sauce, a delicious scoop of light, fluffy potato mash and baked vegetables.

 

Mixed BBQ Plate (with rice, blackbeans and chimichurri sauce) $28

The mixed barbecue plate comes with a wide variety of barbecued meats, serviced with rice, chimichurri sauce and mysterious dark gravy-like sauce which we later learn to be blackbeans. It’s a perfect meal for meat lovers, with a lot more meat than it would seem at first, and great for sharing too!

Spaghetti Marinara $26

The spaghetti marinara is a generous serving of mixed seafood cooked with pasta, although it is a little watery for our liking. We do quite enjoy the tomato based sauce, which is light and tasty.

Wagyu Beef Pie $28

The wagyu beed pie is only served in limited amounts each day, so I was glad to hear that it was still available on the day. It is the perfect winter comfort food, with a deliciously flaky puff pastry lid enclosing a meltingly tender wagyu beef interior. Unlike many pies which I’ve had previously, this one is jam packed full of the tasty meat, making it quite filling, although there is still the inevitable disappointment once you reach then end and realise you’ll have to wait for next time to have it again.

Chocolate Mousse

But the disappointment is quickly diminished as dessert is up next! There are four dessert options tonight, so we decide to try one of each to share. I wasn’t too keen on sharing the chocolate mousse though, as it is amazingly good- decadently rich, chocolatey, smooth and airy, it was definitely my favourite dessert of the night!

Papaya Cream

We weren’t too fond of the papaya cream at first, layers of soft, silky custard amongst a papaya flavoured syrup- it’s texture reminded us of asian tofu pudding. The papaya syrup at first tastes rather strange and artificial, but after the first few mouthfuls, goes surprisingly well with custard and we find we quite enjoy it as a nice, light dessert .

Creme Brulee

The creme brulee is nice and smooth, with a satisfying crunchy caramel layer on top, served alongside a generous serve of ice cream.

Creme Caramel

The creme caramel is soft and smooth, although we find it not rich and creamy enough for our liking. We may just be creme caramel snobs though (I make a version of it myself at home haha).

Bronte Belo on Urbanspoon