Club Colombia – The Overview…
Food: Empanadas, Colombian Chocolo arepa, Cazuela de frijoles (Beans Casserole), the Sobrebarriga en salsa criolla (Flank Steak with Criolla Sauce), Ripe Plantain Dessert, Colombian Oblea
If you’re a fan of Anthony Bourdain’s travels you’ll know exactly the kind of place I’m talking about. It’s cosy, noisy and full of bright colours. The traditional music really helps, but the excited, lively vibe that forms with even just a couple of tables, and the laid back catch ups around food and a few drinks completely transport you to South America. And that’s before you’ve even taken a bite of anything.
If you’re familiar with South and Central American food, the menu contains a lot of what you’d expect. Personally I felt it fell somewhere in between Mexican and Brazilian (I’m far from an expert on what Colombian food should be, so this is the best way I can describe it). Many of the dishes are fairly meat heavy, but they do have veggie options and the cuisine reflects the diverse landscape of Colombia. There’s beach inspired ceviche, traditional arepas and hearty casseroles, filled with all those beautiful, rich spices you’d expect.
We started with the empanadas and the Colombian Chocolo arepa. Two very traditional choices. We tucked straight into the arepa with its oh so tempting melted mozzarella cheese topping. The arepa itself is a mix between a pancake and a fritter. It has a beautiful sweetness from the sweet corn which is complemented so well with the slightly salted melted cheese. Arepa is a very traditional dish of Colombia and Venezuela, and something that is eaten any time of day. If you’re visiting early in the day, you’ll spot it popping up on their brunch menu too.
The empanadas were delicious. I think almost every South American cuisine has their own take on them. Just very simple beef and potato mix in a soft crumbly pastry, you can imagine Colombian children desperate to enjoy these for lunch. Make sure you top them with some of the salsa to add an extra little kick too.
For mains we tried the Cazuela de frijoles (Beans Casserole) and the Sobrebarriga en salsa criolla (Flank Steak with Criolla Sauce). The Cazuela was a tasty bean casserole, topped with chorizo and pork. I really enjoyed this dish, I add a lot of beans to my casseroles at home so it was really my kind of dish. The chorizo just gave it a little bit of spice and the fatty, slightly crisp pork added a yummy saltiness. Served with rice and arepa it’s a Colombian take on a stew and I love trying varieties of dishes like this where almost every culture and cuisine has their own interpretation of them. I liked its subtle creaminess and the different richness of flavour from the beans. It’s a very enjoyable dish.
The steak was such a filling dish. The soft flank steak just fell apart and was surprisingly lean for the most part. The cheesy Corolla sauce was milder than I expected and combined with the salty yellow potatoes it was a hearty meal. The portions on both our mains were so large, but in particular I couldn’t believe how much meat there was on the steak.
For dessert we had the Ripe Plantain Dessert and the Colombian oblea. The plantain, mixed with cheese was quite an unusual dessert. It’s rich syrupyness gave it a nice sugary flavour with a touch of saltiness from the cheese. It was something totally unique but really enjoyable. The Oblea was a crispy cookie sandwich with Arequipe (Colombian milk caramel), mixed blueberry sauce and mozzarella cheese. This had quite a simple flavour and again was fairly sweet. The creamy caramel was delicious and it was a light, yet richly flavoured dessert. Having never been to Colombia or tried Colombian food before I can’t attest to the authenticity of these dishes but I definitely enjoyed the tastes and atmosphere of Club Colombia and would love to visit again soon!
Address: 118 Queen Street, Melbourne CBD
Mon 8am to 4pm
Tue 8am to 4pm
Wed 8am to 10pm
Thu 8am to 10pm
Fri 8am to 10pm
Sat 9am to 10pm
Sun 9am to 5pm
Parking: There’s paid parking nearby and some parking on Queen Street itself (most of this is paid unless you are visiting later on in the evening).
Getting here on PT: It’s in between Flinders and Flagstaff train stations (about 10 minutes walk max from each one), or an easy reach from most of the CBD trams.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Club Colombia, Melbourne. Reviews are honest and based on our own personal experiences. We cannot guarantee things at a cafe won’t change including, but not limited to, menu items and opening hours, so please confirm any details with the venue before visiting.