Tucked away in a more industrial part of Alexandria is the Latin American eatery Ola Lola Cafe. It poses as a half takeaway shop and half cafe, yet still manages to draw in quite a crowd with a mix of locals and Latin American nationals (it’s so cool hearing them speak!). They serve up authentic Colombian coffee beans with their repeat customers leaving their loyalty cards in the store for convenience and their menu boasts influences all across the continent, from Mexico to Argentina.
Empanadas - $4.50 each or 3 for $11.50
We start off with a trio of empanadas (chicken, spinach and tuna) which are served with a Pico de Gallo (tomato, onion, coriander salsa) on the side. The spinach has melted cheese inside leaving it nice and moist. I find the chicken one a bit dry if you eat it by itself, but it goes well with the fresh salsa and some chilli sauce on the side. We’re told these are also sold at selected food markets (Joynton Park, USyd and UNSW) so you can grab one on the go as well!
Yerba Mate Tea
Next we try a traditional Yerba Mate leaf tea from the Andean Region in Chile and Argentina. It’s served in an interesting little pot (called a calabash gourd) with a metal straw which makes it a bit hard to drink since the straw heats up significantly when you suck up the hot tea. I’m not a big fan of the taste as it’s very earthy and dry tasting and it’s definitely an acquired taste. Thankfully we also get a side of honey to sweeten the earthiness a bit.
Big Colombian Breakfast (Saturdays only) – $ 17.50
Following this is the Big Colombian Breakfast which is served on Saturdays only. We get the small size which contains beans, rice, pork belly, avocado, chorizo, fried eggs and arepa (corn flour bread). If this is the “small” plate, I can’t imagine how big the large size would be! Highlights were definitely the beans, chorizo and pork belly when mixed in with the rice. We also tried one of their super spicy chilli sauces (appropriately named the “Demon”) which added an extra punch of flavours elevating the dish.
Meat Platter Picada – $18.50
For our last dish, we got the Meat Platter combination which included Beef Ribs, Quarter Roast Chicken and a Quinoa salad. At the price this is sold at, the combo plate is great value for such large portions. The beef ribs were a bit tough but went well with the sweet and tangy chimichurri sauce. The chicken was marinated with an Adobo salsa and was juicy and full of flavour. Unlike a lot of BBQ chicken places which serve dry chicken, the chicken here is marinated for 24 hours prior so it has retained a lot of the flavour. To cut through the meat, the quinoa salad was a lovely light side with honey, roasted vegies and feta.
Overall, Ola Lola Cafe does an exceptional job of taking you on a food journey halfway across the world at budget prices. It’s quite a different feel from your typical “cafe” and just serves up honest and hearty food, definitely a great place to pay a visit.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Ola Lola Cafe & Eatery.
Ola Lola Cafe & Eatery
39/101 Doody St, Alexandria NSW 2015
Ph: (02) 9317 4687
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 6am – 4pm; Saturday 9am – 3pm