He took on high-end tacos at Acland St Cantina, consulted on the Latin-inspired menu at Sydney’s Hotel Harry and authored a Mexican cookbook. Chef Paul Wilson has built a reputation for being the go-to guy for Latin American cuisine.
But for Wilson (whose CV also includes The Botanical and Newmarket Hotel), there is still so much to learn about Latin food. So along with restaurateur Alby Tomassi (from Jimmi Jamz and Feast of Merit), Wilson travelled to South America earlier this year to find inspiration for a new restaurant.
The result is Lady Carolina, a palader-style restaurant opening on Lygon Street in July, inspired by the private, often family-run restaurants of Cuba.
But don’t expect, “Just tacos and burritos,” says Wilson. “We will be welcoming casual diners to sample flavours from Peru, Mexico, Cuba and LA, a city with a vibrant street-food culture influenced by Latino flavours," he says.
If you’ve been to South America and miss the many styles of food, it sounds like you’ll get a whirlwind tour in one hit – potato croquettes stuffed with Cuban spiced beef, variations on ceviche and Wilson’s take on Lima’s cult street sandwich; with a slow-roasted crispy pork, sweet potatoes and salsa.
There will also be al pastor tacos, Cuban sandwiches and to please the locals – superfood salads, too.
There will be two parts to Lady Carolina. The front, the palader, will take reservations and walk-ins, while the back will open to a beer garden with a street kitchen and bar offering craft beers, pisco and lots of rum.
Lady Carolina is due to open on Lygon Street, Brunswick East this July.
177 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
(03) 9381 0898