Friday 19 November 2010

Sonido! Gertrude Street goes Colombian

69 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy (map)
9495 6636
Tues-Fri 8:30am-4pm, Sat-Sun 9am-4pm


About a month ago I was happily meandering along Gertrude Street in the sunshine, having just bought some Día de los Muertos knick-knacks at the wonderful Amor y Locura. When I realised the cafe I was walking past was Sonido, I decided to continue my day's Latin American theme and pop in for an arepa.


Sonido is a cute-as-a-button daytime cafe located a few doors down from Cutler in one of those shopfronts with the big Play School arched windows. It's been open for about four months. Santiago and Carolina, the young Colombian couple that run it, are both gorgeous and friendly, and I'm completely enamoured with Sonido's casual fitout bedecked with South American posters and trinkets.

I've visited THREE times in the last month, taking best-friend-K, The American and Em along for arepa fixes.


The good news for the gluten-intolerant is that arepas (flat bread made with corn meal, popular in Colombia and Venezuela) are gluten-free. At Sonido they're served with guacamole and a picadillo salsa, with an optional side salad. These ones ($11.50) were topped with frijoles and slightly sharp feta.

Frijoles con feta

The ropa vieja ("old clothes") arepas are prepared according to a "secret Cuban recipe" ($11.50). Loved these - the shredded beef was nicely seasoned, and the sauce made the lightly crisp arepas go soggy in all the right places.

Ropa vieja

When I went back with Em, she ordered the ropa vieja with side salad (additional $2.50). The arepa di choclo ($6, pictured on the right) is the only one that ISN'T gluten-free. It's a sweet corn arepa (made with "gringo" corn), topped with grilled queso fresco. Little bottles of Amazon habanero chile hot sauce were on standby if you wanted to give your arepa a kick like a mule.

Ropa ViejaArepa de choclo

I've also tried the arepas de queso ($8.50). Unlike the others, these one have the queso fresco INSIDE them as a filling. The menu suggests that you "approach these bad boys with a buttered knife in one hand and a salt shaker in the other". Aye aye, sir!

Simple but oh so tasty. I attempted a mid-meal photo for you, to show the cheese in cross-section, but I'm afraid it's a little hard to see.

Arepas de quesoArepas de queso

As well as the arepas, the small menu offers three kinds of empanadas and a few gluten-free sweets. They serve Coffee Supreme's fair trade organic coffee, and a changing South American COE single origin for black coffee orders.


Given that Sonido means "sound" in Spanish, it's no surprise that the turntable has a special place in the cafe. When he's not serving up arepas, Santiago is DJ El Patron. Look out for him and his extensive vintage vinyl collection that he brought from Bogota - he spun records at a great Day of the Dead gig at The Gem that I went to the other week.

Sonido records

On my most recent visit to Sonido last Sunday, I wanted to try the Chocolate Corona, a traditional Colombian hot chocolate that you can order with cheese. Unfortunately they were out of stock - just another excuse for me to head back there again soon!



Michael said...

So glad you like it Claire - it's become my favourite lunch place on the strip.

greenbeenfood said...

looks very fabulous....the food authentic & delicious....i will have to check it out when next visiting melbourne!

hannahbabble said...

I am *so* there tomorrow morning. Wanna make it four visits? :)

claire said...

Sounds good, miss H! :-)

My Restaurants Melbourne said...

Wowi haven't experienced much south American cuisine before, looks interesting

msihua said...

This looks fabulous!! I'm hungry already!!!

susan said...

what a cool looking place. Everything looks so delicious as well, I want to eat it all!

Anonymous said...

Che Guevara doing the coffees? Revolutionary.

Anonymous said...

I've walked past it fleetingly, thinking it was just another cafe (soo many in the area). Will be getting there quick smart. I had arapes at Los Latinos the other week. They are so yum. Thanks for the review and info!!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, I've always wanted to visit this place! Thanks for the lovely, informative post! It sounds a bit like Cruzao Arepa Bar - maybe you should try that one out too! :)

Liverella said...

I love, love, live this place... I travelled to Melb in Sept and I started reading your blog 1 month before my trip to look for delicious food in Melb... On my third day there I stumbled this place and I loved it so much... The music, the gorgeous food and the ambience and came back again cos one time was just not enough and she rembered me, she told me what I had and they were just lovely and such a wonderful couple... I came back home and checked if you have been there and you had not and I was just hoping and hoping one day you discovered this place and you did! You couldn't imagine how happy I am now... I know some places are so amazing and you didn't want them to be too well known but this place, I know it will be real great to share :)

claire said...

Thanks for your kind words, everybody!

Hippo #1, I haven't been to Cruzao yet but I intend to next time I'm in the hood.