Carolina Cafe & Bar
Located in an old shoemaker’s shop, Carolina Cafe & Bar is pumping during its morning and lunch rushes, but relaxing and cosy in the times between.
Take a seat at the window on a pew, in one of the booths, or walk your pooch around the back to the sunny, dog-friendly courtyard. It’s not uncommon to see customers settled with a book, sketchpad or laptop.
The northern European-influenced menu features toasted gingerbread with orange-infused custard, honey-roasted pear and hazelnut brittle; ham hock with pea mash; and a salmon gravlax dish with “bubble and squeak” croquettes. There are nice surprises, too, including the popular okonomiyaki-style fritters.
Coffee is by Industry Beans and chai by Calmer Sutra. From the dainty vintage cups and saucers you can sip hot cocoa in orange and peppermint varieties.
The space makes some minor adjustments to set the tone for a drink after six o’clock. The bar is de-cluttered and candles scattered around the venue. A DJ may also appear.
The booze menu is simple: a handful of local wines, classic cocktails and beer from Sample brewery. It’s a purposeful limitation that eases decision-making and supports Carolina’s laid-back nature. For bar snacks, choose from a selection of charcuterie and cheeseboards, as well as altered dishes from the lunch menu.
The original fit-out was done many years ago. Since then, the space has evolved naturally, with remnants of the past everywhere you look. Little antiques strewn about pay homage to the former Italian shoemaker, Invicta, which previously occupied the building. There are little shoes scattered throughout the cafe, a few old photographs in the connecting corridor, and the old “Invicta” sign still on the front window.