Desayuno y almuerzo diferente!
In the ongoing search for something new for breakfast, Hobart’s emerging midtown delivers algo latino for breakfast and lunch. Muy rico!
The Two Girls first met Elias Solis, recently returned from a music study tour of Cuba and brimming with bright ideas and the beat of the Caribbean. His lineage is Tasmanian-latino royalty, a community initially established by refugees from Chile and El Salvador and now in its second and third generations, deeply embedded in Hobart.
His work in cumbia band, Chupacabra, is known by Recktango-goers and at pubs and festivals. This week he threw open the doors to his latest venture, a Central and South American cafe, named after the sexy beat of yambu, a form of Cuban rumba.
As a nod to the continent of his heritage the walls are painted bright yellow and a dark stained stairwell is reminiscent of the colonial architecture of the Americas. Elias and his dad pulled off the renovations themselves.
Photos from family adventures across Central and South America hang across the walls; landmarks, locals and 1950s cars. Booths and stained timber furniture modestly fill two floors of the cafe. The upstairs section is a particularly gorgeous space, light-filled by a giant window at the end of the room and in the same neo-colonial vein, a Chesterfield. Even during a pre-work breakfast, the space invites you to vary your rhythm, relax and enjoy yourself.
The menu of Yambu is ripe with unique offerings. Sure you can have porridge. It’s quinoa not oats. There are waffles, and they come with manjar, a milk-based caramel. Of course there are eggs, but here they’re known as huevos and they come with pickles and sides including black beans or avocado salsa.
They offer naughty drinks all day like the Cola de Mona which is a coffee based milk drink with a little white rum, cinnamon, cloves and other spices. Literally it means monkey’s tail. It’s a popular end of the year drink in Chile, and its available at Yambu, and if you’re keen, you can have it with breakfast.
We chose the ropa vieja, $18, a delicious, richly flavoured meal of shredded beef, black beans, citrus rice, coriander, house pickles, toasted pepitas and crema fresca and the arepa special, $15, which on our visit was filled with beef, pickled zucchini, cucumber, avocado and slaw.
Both dishes had a lot going on with great combinations of colours, textures and flavours. The addition of pepitas with the ropa vieja for example gave a little crunch to the dish like the tasty slaw on the arepa. We grabbed a couple of the alfajores for morning tea later, lovely light, short biscuits filled with dulce de leche.
Tips: Ropa vieja is a Cuban national dish, with Sephardic Jewish origins, of slow cooked beef and vegetables. An arepa is a thick, fried tortilla common from Venezuela to Ecuador.
The verdict – we enjoyed full of flavour dishes, good value meals that we couldn’t finish, and surprisingly great coffee worthy of a takeaway destination. Pick up a coffee card for a freebie after 10. They’re licensed and have a handful of wines from Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia, and the Hobart Brewing Co’s Harbour Master on tap. Elias tells us that having a cheeky caña (smaller than a ten ounce) beer or a glass of wine with lunch is a very common practice in South America. We think it will be a winner here too.
Find Yambu at 129 Elizabeth Street, Hobart. Call them on 6287 7014.
Find them on Facebook and Instagram @yambucafe
They’re open Monday to Friday, 7.30 am – 4.00 pm.
Read our post on the band here – Chupacabra.
Here’s another venue we felt didn’t make unnecessary compromises serving up traditional cuisine without the Anglo taint – Tao House Bistro.