Carolina is an all-rounder type of place. Cafe by day and bar by night, you'd be forgiven for coming back to it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a tipple or two later on.
The bar/cafe has a full-fledged cocktail list and bar snacks menu, and the well-priced, French-influenced lunch and breakfast menus are complete and indeed enticing, with options like Tunisian-style brik pastry rolls served on fresh ratatouille, and house-smoked ocean trout with kipfler potatoes and poached egg. To drink, Carolina offers Seven Seeds coffee and tempting choices like white grape juice with lemon and mint.
The pared back fit-out of the front bar and the sun-drenched, plant-filled courtyard out back – designed and built by Huw Smith of The Alderman and Smith & Maloney fame – have also been fully finessed and make for inviting spaces. The exposed brick, polished concrete and recycled timber used throughout Carolina give it a feeling of familiarity, as do the carefully selected antique objects neatly strewn about. The tricycle out front is a nice touch, but perhaps the most telling of objects are the array of different sized shoes left scattered around the boothed bar area. They pay homage to the former Italian shoemakers Invicta, who occupied the building for many years prior.
Warmingly, these past Invicta owners are also featured in photos pegged up on the connecting corridor in the middle of the restaurant and referenced by the original gold painted window signage which (for now) the bar has decided to retain.