Latin Foods and Wines, 809 Ballarat rd, Deer Park
I had never really paid too much attention to the strip of shops near the corner of Station and Ballarat roads in Deer park until a few years ago when Chef Lagenda opened. And more recently when we wanted to get our fix of Vietnamese soups but didn’t want to drive over to Sunshine or St Albans to get it we found ourselves Vinh Thuan restaurant. And yes I have no idea why I’d never been to the infamous kebab instition that is Roxy’s Kebabs who’s fans claim have the best kebabs in Melbourne. It seems that this eclectic row of shops which, by the way, includes an awesome costume store (we hired some costumes for the kids’ birthday party recently and the ladies were extremely help and efficient), is successfully covering nearly all the continents in terms of choice of cuisine – South America is the latest addition.
It was just over a couple of years ago now that we first met Maria and Marco at their La Morenita shop in Sunshine for a feast organised by Kenny from Consider The Sauce. We were seduced by their hospitality and handmade empanadas and were so excited to see them again at their launch event to celebrate the extension of their opening hours to now cater for the dinner crowd as well as the popular lunch time rush. Operating in Melbourne for over 20 years now, Maria and Marco recently moved from the small Sunshine store to this space in Deer Park that is more than double the area with not only table service but fresh hot bread, drinks, and other goods – your one stop shop for all things South American!
Our South American BBQ journey took the form of a set menu feast that was further enhanced by the gorgeous bottle of red we tried from Chile – I can’t remember the name and will totally have to go back and grab a bottle or two it was so good. Our meal was complimentary and the dishes were part of the $50 set menu that is now available for dinner and also includes a drink. We devoured:
– A trio of empanadas including pork, mash n’ meat and vegetarian accompanied by a tomato and onion salsa (I could totally eat this salsa on its own. So fresh tasting and full of flavour
– Pan de bono with mayonesa de ajo. These little bread rolls full of melted cheese were a hit with the whole table and weren’t on the menu so it was a nice surprise!
Ceviche – Chillean style, shredded haku cured in citrus juices. Such a refreshing light dish that I can imagine would be perfect to eat during the hot summer days. Now if only Melbourne would keep it consistent – It feels like winter again!
Causa limefia – mashed potato with chicken and topped with a slice of hardboiled egg. This tasted like an amazing homemade potato salad but all mashed up. The kind you keep going back for at a family bbq.
Anticucho – a slice of chorizo sandwiched between two pieces of beef on a skewer fresh off the bbq
– Costillar – pork with a little cumin.
– Pamplona – grilled stuff meat, in this case chicken stuffed with cheese and ham
– Lamb – Parrillada (South American BBQ) with a sprinkle of rosemary
Typing it all out, it looks like so much food and thankfully they were portioned out quite well and I left feeling fully satisfied without feeling like I needed to be rolled out of the restaurant. I was so pleasantly surprised by the last trio of delights that came out for dessert. I almost licked the plate clean.
– Pineapple gelato – tangy, cool and perfectly garnished with golden piece of caramelised pineapple – I almost tried to steal Wes’ little piece after finishing mine. This gelato held the rest of the desserts well together giving that refreshing feeling after eating the two other creamy, sweet samples.
– Tres leche. Oh gosh, this moist sponge cake with layers of cream and other sweet goodness on top was just heaven. I will defnitely be ordering this all on its own next time I visit.
– Merengue lucuma. I popped my lucuma cherry with this bad boy of a dessert that consisted of a biscuit base topped with chocolate, topped with cream sweetened by lucuma. I was told by the friendly staff member doing the whisking that lucuma is also known as the “Gold of the Incas”. It is found in Peru and Ecuador and kinda looks like a mini avocado slash mango but tastes totally different. It is a natural low GI sweetener that is rich in antioxidants and has the same amount of calcium as a glass of cow’s milk according to this article. I was given a teaspoon to try and it was sweet and tasted a little like dates. Hooked!
Whisking the lucuma into the cream
Kenny trying his hand at Latin kareoke? Heheh!
I made my way over to the grill after our meal and this friendly guy gave me some pieces of different chorizo to try – I ended up buying some to take home for my dad.
Thank you Papa for looking after our kids while we went out for dinner!
It was a great casual night out with the hubby and Kenny and a chance to hang out with some new and familiar faces including bloggers Maggie from They Call Me Maggie and Nat who I had met previously. And some new friends, Cassandra from Hungry Cookie, and Susan from Point Cook Dining and her friend Saba. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories about life, food and blogging!
Thank you to Kenny and Latin Foods and Wines for having us. With all the food so delicioso, warm-hearted service, music and entertainment, we had such a fun night out. The live dj made me want to get up and salsa! Latin Foods and Wines are open daily and have some popular lunch specials. Try the egg tart or fresh bread if you’re in a rush and if you have time to sit and relax, they have indoor and outdoor seating available.
Where: Latin Foods and Wines 809 Ballarat road, Deer Park
When: Open daily. Call them on or check their Facebook for the latest updates
Cuisine: South American
Buenas noches amigos and have a great week!