Las Chicas

203 Carlisle St, Balaclava VIC 3183
Date visited: 24th December 2012

Time sure flies when you don't notice.  Christmas Eve crept up on us so silently - before we knew it, it was here staring us in the face.  It seemed like just yesterday MerlinFan and I were having brekkie at Trunk Diner before grocery shopping and picking up our yule log at DJ's - ah, the memories.  I'm a sucker for good memories.  This year, we decided to forgo the traditional yule log to get a cake from Burch & Purchese instead.  Since we were going to pick it up from South Yarra today anyway, we decided to drop by Las Chicas for brunch first.

Great timing.  There was a table for two free, so we were seated immediately.
The place was packed and pumping for lunch.  People were streaming in every few minutes but the waitstaff seemed to cope pretty well under pressure.

Love the statue
There was a little while between taking our food orders and our drinks hitting our tables.  At one point I was starting to feel a little strained - it was almost 1pm and we were supposed to pick up our cake in an hour.
Water in Vodka bottles XP
Maple syrup
I was relieved when our drinks finally arrived.  MerlinFan had an Iced Coffee and I had the Banana and Honey Smoothie.
Iced coffee (left), Banana and honey smoothie (right)
MerlinFan's Iced coffee was nice and strong, went nicely with the vanilla ice cream.

The Banana and Honey smoothie was faultless.  Sweet banana with honey overtones and gotta love that pull as you drink through a straw - a sign that the smoothie is at the right consistency.

We were having a big dinner tonight, so I chose a muffin.  All their muffins looked amazing in the display, but I chose one of their specials, the Cherry and Dark Chocolate Muffin.
Cherry and Dark Chocolate Muffin $4.50
Yum, this was really delicious!  Served warm with a side of butter.  Nicely dusted, the muffin was crisp on top and nicely moist inside, embellished with melty dark chocolate hexagons and baked cherries on top.

MerlinFan chose the dish that we both came to try, the French Toast with chocolate hazelnut mascarpone, caramelised banana and hazelnut praline.
French Toast with chocolate hazelnut mascarpone, caramelised banana and hazelnut praline $15
Looks gorgeous, doesn't it?

Sadly, it didn't quite taste as good as it looked.  The french toast was deep fried, so it was actually really oily.  You can probably see in the photo that even before we dug in, there were already little pools of oil on the plate.  The toast itself erred on the bland side, was chewy inside and not particularly crispy.  I would describe it as like a battered fish replaced by toast; MerlinFan called it a bread fritter.  The caramelised banana was nice, though.  MerlinFan had the dish first - she said the mascarpone was chocolatey and hazelnutty and slightly more savoury than sweet.  As I dug in halfway through, I noticed strangely enough the mascarpone seemed mixed in with oil - I wasn't quite sure if it was from the french toast or if the mascarpone had split from the heat of the toast.  

We were in an out in about an hour, which was perfect timing under our time constraint.  However, this was definitely not one of the better french toasts I've had - we loved everything except the dish that had motivated us to pay a visit to Las Chicas.  Ironic, isn't it.

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