La Paloma is one of my favourite places to go for lunch on workdays. Tucked just off Sydney Road in Brunswick, it’s unassuming, unfussy, very affordable and the food is fantastic.
There’s a bit of South American influence, both in the decor (bright colours, a couple of soccer pictures) and in the food. The menu is minimal, but what they do, they do very well. There are rolls with salad (and usually meat, but not for me) for $6.50. Seriously, these are the best salad rolls I have ever tasted – really good sourdough rolls, cheese, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes topped with a little basil, a cos lettuce leaf, and whatever they do to the butter/spread is amazing. Simple but perfect!
There’s also tortilla, which comes with the same excellent bread and a salad which includes mild pickled chillies (this dish initiated a serious obsession with pickled chillies for me – the hot ones split long ways and added to a cheese toasty has become one of my favourite quick breakfasts). And they have empanadas on Fridays, but I haven’t tried them.
The coffee is excellent – strong but not too bitter – and only $2.50! Coffee under $3! It’s incredible! (They don’t charge any extra for soy, either.)
There’s a small selection of sweets, and last time I went I finally tried the churros ($2.50) I’ve been eyeing off for ages. They weren’t the greatest churros I’ve ever had (the oil flavour was pretty strong), but they’re smeared with this wonderful, thick gooey caramel that reminds me of the best condensed-milk based treats of my childhood.
259 Albert St, Brunswick