Lygon Street is getting a healthy serve of Latin American street food this July, with Paul Wilson’s latest venture, Lady Carolina. Wilson and Alby Tomassi (Feast of Merit and Jimmi Jamz) jetted off to South America to find inspiration for their new venture, and returned home to start Melbourne’s first dedicated cevicheria and paladar. For those playing at home, a paladar is a vibrant family-run, in-home restaurant of Cuba, encouraged during the reign of Fidel Castro.
Lima in Peru was a highlight for both Wilson and Tomassi, with the pair discovering new flavours, dishes, cooking styles and authentic cultural fusions. The cevicheria bar at Lady Carolina will be dedicated to celebrating the unique qualities of Japanese-Peruvian cuisine (otherwise known as Nikkei). The courtyard set up will be slightly different, featuring Latin American street food, made in a six-metre open kitchen, with an eclectic wine and cocktail offering.
The ethos at Lady Carolina is undoubtedly flavour first, as diners will get the chance to experience the big, smoky, spicy, sour, and fresh flavours that make Latin-Caribbean food so distinctive. We’re going well beyond the typical tacos and burritos that crowds have become accustomed to, and heading towards a cuisine that proudly hails from all the corners of Latin America.
Lady Carolina’s menu will have a strong focus on sourcing ingredients that are local, ethical and sustainable, while staying true to the traditions of Latin-American cuisine. On top of this, Lady Carolina will also be a profit-for-purpose business, as part of the proceeds goes towards Pay A Sack Forward’s homeless alleviation programs.
Interestingly, Australia has all the elements working in our favour to create Latin-American inspired cuisine. According to Wilson, “Australia has the same produce, diverse climate and regions, oceanic eco system, and geography, also being an island like Latin America, we have more in common than most people realise.” Some of the Lady Carolina offerings you can begin to look forward to include healthy vibrant ensaladas and seafood grilled a la plancha. Wilson’s recommendation off the menu is the authentic ceviche, and he’s confident that the flavours produced from the Latin Barbecoa (slow cooked barbecue) will “blow your mind”.
Wilson is clearly looking forward to settling into his new location, as he explains, “East Brunswick is becoming so creative and intellectual about its hospitality, it’s great to be a part of the story with our diverse Latin food culture.” He is also looking forward to giving Melbourne crowds something new and perhaps a touch experimental. “We will shake it up,” he promises.
Lady Carolina is set to open at 175-177 Lygon Street, Brunswick East in July.
Image Credit: Sabine Legrand for The Urban List