Gluten free is the most commonly requested dietary requirement at North Melbourne cafe Auction Rooms. So when crafting the venue’s latest menu item, Colombian Corn Pancakes, operations manager Amy Malone says it was important to consider. “It also ticks the box of being delicious and light,” she says. “So it’s a good all-rounder.”

Chef Mathew Greene’s new dish is a take on a traditional recipe from Colombia (where his partner is from). It is made with fried egg; poblano peppers; mushrooms; pickled squash; walnut salsa; and citrus- and herb-infused Philadelphia cream cheese. The corn flour is from Casa Iberica in Fitzroy in that stocks the best and most authentic Colombian brand Auction Rooms has found in Melbourne.

“It’s such a colourful lunch choice with different flavours and spices,” says Malone. “The pancakes provide a good base to hold all the ingredients on top.” “The smooth Philadelphia cream cheese balances out the textures really well. And I especially love the sweetness from the pickled baby squash and crunchiness from the walnut salsa.”

The dish is time consuming to make for a large-scale cafe service. But Malone says it’s easier to make at home.

“Buy the peppers already chargrilled and marinated in olive oil,” says Malone. “This will save you a lot of time and give you a nice flavour, because they’ve been marinating.”

She says you can also make the pancakes in advance and refrigerate with parchment in between each one so they don’t stick together. Then, layer the pancakes on the plate and top with the remaining ingredients.

“Dollop the Philadelphia cream cheese on top with slices of peppers and bright-yellow squash and present the dish on a black plate so all the colours stand out,” says Malone.

Auction Rooms’ Colombian-inspired meal is vegetarian, but if you want to incorporate meat, Malone recommends adding a side of chargrilled chorizo with aioli. For a Colombian combo, pair the dish with a Small Batch Colombia filter coffee from Auction Rooms.

Auction Rooms’ Colombian Corn Pancakes are available in-store for a limited time. Here’s how to make them at home.

Colombian Corn Pancakes
Serves 10.


500ml warm water
35g grated butter
375g arepa flour
1½ tsp fine salt
1½ tsp caster sugar
30g finely grated parmesan

Citrus Philadelphia cream cheese:
1kg Philadelphia cheese
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Grated zest of ½ a lime
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
½ tbsp finely chopped coriander
½ tbsp finely chopped dill
½ tbsp finely chopped parsley

10 fresh eggs
8 poblano peppers, deseeded and cut into rings
200g pickled straw mushrooms (available at most good delis)
1 lemon

Squash pickle: *
1L chardonnay vinegar
1L water
1kg caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
5 peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
3 juniper berries
10 coriander seeds
10 baby yellow squash

Piquillo salsa: *
500g piquillo peppers
100g walnuts
1 clove garlic (microplaned)
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

*Can also use supermarket alternative

Pancake method:
Add the grated butter to the water and whisk until emulsified. The water should be warm enough to melt the butter, but not hot to touch. Mix remaining ingredients thoroughly in a separate, large bowl.

Add emulsion to dry ingredients and work by hand until it forms a dough. Place dough in electric mixer and beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment for 2–3 minutes. Remove, Glad Wrap and rest for around 30 minutes.

Cut off around 300g of dough and roll on a floured bench with a rolling pin until approximately 5mm thick. Cut out with a 6cm circular ring cutter. (The scrap dough can be re rolled so don't throw it away. Add it back to the remaining dough and roll it again).

When finished, store on baking paper in sealed containers in fridge until ready to use.

Squash pickle method:
Mix all ingredients except the squash and bring to a boil. Shave the squash to 1mm thick pieces on a mandolin. Cover the shaved squash with the hot pickling liquid and cover. When cool refrigerate until cold.

Citrus Philadelphia cream cheese method:
Combine all ingredients in a metal bowl with a spatula. Season to taste and decant into a piping bag.

Piquillo salsa method:
Drain the peppers and place in a food processor with the remaining ingredients. Pulse blitz until pesto consistency. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve:

Brush pancakes on both sides with melted butter and pan fry until golden. Crack eggs into cool, non-stick pans with a little oil. Place on a low heat and fry slowly.

Place pancakes in centre of plates (2 per plate). When eggs are cooked, place on top of the pancakes. Season the whites of the eggs with salt. Crack black pepper over the whole of the eggs.

In a hot pan with a little oil, fry the poblano peppers. When soft remove onto a sheet of kitchen roll and season.

Around the perimeter of the pancakes/egg stacks, pipe an even ring of the piquillo salsa.

Pipe 5 balls of the citrus Philadelphia cream cheese per plate, at even intervals on top of the salsa.

Remove the pickled squash from their liquid and place in a metal bowl with the fried poblanos. Add straw mushrooms and squeeze lemon juice over.

Divide this mix evenly in the gaps between the Philadelphia cream cheese. Serve.

This article is presented in partnership with Philadelphia Spreadable Cream Cheese. Featuring the signature smooth creamy texture of Philadelphia cream cheese, we've worked with some of our favourite cafes to design this limited-edition lunch-menu item, available in-store now.

PHILADELPHIA is a trade mark of Mondelez International Group used under License