Carolina opened a bit over a week ago now and it proved an eventful few days for owners Dave and Melanie Henderson. Affable bar manager Patrick Leigh Dunn recounts: “We opened on the Thursday, and they [Dave and Melanie] had their baby on Saturday night!”

In light of this – and understandably so – there are a still a few things Carolina is finalising, such as a full cocktail list, the barsnacks menu and specific weekend closing hours. However, 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 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.

It’s been a fruitful month for the owners of Carolina and we’re keen to watch this one grow.

11 Nicholson Street, East Brunswick

Tues 8am-4pm
Wed to Friday 8am-11pm
Sat 8:30am-11pm
Sun 8:30am - 4pm

*Closing time on weekends subject to become later over next month or so