Las Chicas- Cacao Bites and Grilled Marinated Chicken Salad

Carlisle Street in St. Kilda East is home to a striking list of eateries, providores and bakeries- the quality and fame of which rivals those in Greville St. and Brunswick St. corridors. Pedestrians zip up and down the boulevard and many, like myself, no doubt wishing for a second stomach to challenge a food crawl of the most enticing cafes out there. 

Las Chicas is one such place.

Its allure begins when you step off the train at Balaclava Station, where on the walk to the street, you are faced with the company's title painted on the brick wall and an arrow pointing around the corner. The destination is easily reached within forty paces.

Upon seeing the crowd gathering at the cafe's street-facing order-and-pick-up window and gawking at the selection of treats on display, your appetite is culled and hijacks whatever plans you have in the area. 

Cacao Bites in almond custard, berries and melon balls. Gluten-free and Vegan. 
The cafe is stylish, characterized by exposed bricks, mixed-tone timbers, geometric tiles and, my favorite feature, an over-sized concrete slab reclaimed as a communal dining table. The trendy and industrial setting is finished with wire lampshade frames and metal grillage (pronounced en francaise and you can get a sense of the aesthetics).

The space is bright and airy. The elongated shape of the cafe opens up like a tunnel, which acts as an arcade connecting Carlisle St. to Dianella St. It conveys a sense of the coming and goings of the ravenous, which attests to the popularity of the cafe. Further, seating options are well-bridged from indoor to courtyard, and Las Chicas' alert and genuinely friendly staff are swift in seating and procuring food and drinks for you.

Breakfast Burrito: the most Amaaazing folded eggs ever (like the mille feuille of eggs), thick bacon rashers, guac and salsa. Gluten-free in corn tortilla. 
The menu is a roll call of scrumptious breakies. It has a great selection of sweet and savory dishes to satiate varied palates. Conscious eaters looking for healthy plates would be happy to find coconut sago pudding, cocoa bites, bircher, fruit salad and porridge. Leaning on the savoury side, there is the breakfast burrito, egg benny on bagels, pancakes and eggs-your way. Lunch offerings include burgers, wraps and salads.

Gluten-free options are notated on the menu, as well as vegetarian and dairy-free dishes. Aforementioned burritos and wraps can be made with corn tortillas.

Nomsies. If I could, I would have fit in the raw desserts! 
We began with Cacao Bites, which were bliss balls in a delicious puddle of almond custard, completed with seasonal fruits. It was aesthetically beautiful and a smart way to bring together different elements- crunchy, sweet, juicy and creamy- to one dish. This was followed by the Grilled Marinated Chicken Salad, the Breakfast Burrito, and the Vegetable and Manchego Rosti.

The Grilled Marinated Chicken Salad was served with corn tortillas; a request for the gluten-free. The marinated chicken was well-seasoned as you would expect of a souvlaki shop, only Las Chicas chefs have done without the grease- which I think most people can appreciate. The combo of lime, avo and mango salad, contributed exotic flavours which I loved.

On the Special's Menu: The Vegetable and Manchego Rosti. Not gluten-free nor dairy-free. 

The Breakfast Burrito was made gluten-free as well. It was an impressive dish- the highlight being the folded eggs. A segmental cut of the dish revealed close to 10-layers of folded eggs. It was layers upon layers- I referred to it as the 'mille feuille of eggs.' The thick cuts of bacon rashers, a ladle full of guacamole and liberal douse of salsa made this a very satisfying dish.

My companion devoured the Vegetable and Manchego Rosti, which was the special of the day. To quote her, ''it had a really good amount of chili, well-flavoured and a good departure from the corn and zucchini fritters."

Grilled Marinated Chicken Salad: A well-seasoned and tasty dish. The salad has mango pieces, cubed avro, cherry tomatoes tossed in spinach. Gluten-free and Dairy-free. Possibly my favorite of the day! 
For dessert, RawLove presents raw chocolate mint slices, lemon coconut cheesecake and chocolate raspberry cake. G. Luxe Glo Bars raw muesli bars are also tempting noshery. It is a great choice of raw, gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo treats for small munchers.

St. Ali's coffee makes its way over to this side of town, and puts up a good rumble against neighbouring coffee roasters. Dairy-free soy milk is from Bonsoy. Juices and smoothies are freshly pressed on the industrial strength juicer seen front-of-shop.

The Youthful Glow Smoothie: fruit blend with tumeric, a medicinal root to fight inflammation! Gluten-free and dairy-free.
Las Chicas is on route to seeing its 15th year in business. People's fascination with this particular cafe on Carlisle Street is apparent. For foodies, it would be instinctual to join the throng and experience this bit of brunch bliss that's the talk of the neighborhood.

Special Thanks to Todd, Kim and Chloe for hosting and seeing to our feast! Your generosity and hospitality are truly appreciated! x
Las Chicas is located at 203 Carlisle Street, Si. Kilda East, Victoria

Las Chicas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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