Sunday, May 27, 2012

Carolina: a new cafe star in Brunswick East

Carolina fills a much needed void in the Brunswick East precinct that is Nicholson Village. Apart from Bar Fred, which is average at best, and Birdie Num Nums (which I refuse to step into based on my ridiculous cafe name policy) there really isn't much in terms of food offerings in the little strip. Carolina opened earlier this year a tad further north of the bike path. Sitting alone at this stage, food press has revealed another offspring of the St Ali empire will become a future neighbour - planning to set up shop behind Velo Cycles. 

11 Nicholson Street
Brunswick East 
Open: Tues-Sunday breakfast + lunch, Thurs - Sunday dinner + drinks/cocktails

Carolina on Urbanspoon

Carolina is housed in a retired Italian shoe making store Invictus and maintains its vintage facade on the front window. Relics remain scattered throughout the interior with photos of the old owner in action  in the hallway to the back garden. I have to say this reinvention initially felt a little too similar to Joe's Shoe Store, especially with the layout of the front room (Bar on left, booths on right) but that's more of a compliment than a criticism. The back garden hosts a lovely outdoor eating area with healthy garden beds on display. 

Weazelby and I had a flat white (they don't 'do' magics apparently) and a long black which were both superb. The coffee is sourced from seven seeds and made with finesse. Weazelby has had a few more coffees throughout the week and maintains it is consistently good.  I am a sucker for nanna style mismatched cups and saucers, embarrassing I know, so I was sold on their crockery. I also loved the little posies on the tables.


I chose the House smoked ocean trout with kipfler potatoes and a poached egg $16. Normally served with watercress, which must have run out for the day, this delightful stack came piled with rocket, radish and a yoghurt dressing.  

Pre yolk-birth


 Post yolk-birth

It was a lovely simple combination of flavours, and at risk of sounding like a fuckwit, it tasted like Scandinavian design. Crisp and clean and unoffensive. And I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. I loved the crunchy radish and peppery rocket, and the serving of trout was massive. My only complaint was it was a touch watery, perhaps due to the yoghurt and some accidental poach-water marrying together. I also ended up adding a bucket load of salt although I'm starting to think it may be my taste buds at fault and not the kitchen's. All in all a not-guilty tasty start to Saturday and a nice change from the bacon-kransky-hash-fat-sinful breakfasts I usually steer towards.

Weazelby opted for the Zucchini, fetta and thyme fritters with sauteed mushrooms, rocket and avocado salsa $14, with thick cut kaiser free-range bacon steak $3.50.  The bacon steak made me instantly jealous, but being the lovely man that Weazelby is, he let me try some. He had no complaints with this, only commented that the meatiness of the mushrooms might make the bacon a little redundant.. although I'm skeptical that bacon is that easily replaceable.

The service was good, after a somewhat confusing beginning, and I'm looking forward to adding Carolina to the brunch rotation. What I am even more excited about is heading back to Carolina for a cocktail - the specials on the blackboard sounded to die for (Whisky sour for $14, bloody bananas that's cheap). They also put on a dinner and bar snack spread (Thurs- Sun nights) that I have no doubt will be just as appetising as their daylight options.


  1. I love Carolina!! They make the most luscious short blacks. Lovely folks too.

    1. Yes the coffee is soooo bloody good, which isn't helping my fussiness with breakfast spots now. I used to choose between good coffee/average food or bad coffee/good food and now I can have it all (MWAHAHAHAH) Looking forward to my second visit :)