La Paula Continental Cakes and Sandwiches
The outside of La Paula looks like a retired milk bar that’s been untouched since the ‘80s. Inside there’s a throng of caramel-stuffed treats and Chilean street snacks that you can’t get anywhere else in Sydney. In the west, it’s an institution. Two Chilean immigrants, Aglae and Victor Casanova, first opened it in Liverpool more than 30 years ago. Since then it moved to Fairfield in the mid-‘80s, and eventually it expanded to Kensington.
Everything is still made by hand from Aglae and Victor’s original recipes. The torta tre leches is a triple-milk cake typical to Chile. First the butter-sponge cake is soaked in condensed milk and cream. It’s then arranged in layers with manjar blanco (or dulce de leche) and meringue.
All the cakes (and there are a lot) have either manjar blanco or quince jam. The other house favourite is the alfajore, a common Chilean street snack with two cracker-like biscuits sandwiching a large dose of thickened manjar blanco.
La Paula does a variety of empanadas either deep fried or baked. There is beef; the empanada de carne, with beef, olives and egg; and the deep-fried de queso, soft, flaky pastry filled with molten cheese. There are also burger-sandwich hybrids that come either lomitos (with sliced pork) or churrascos style (with slabs of beef). Both can come with palta, a Chilean guacamole, and sauerkraut.