There was a steady stream of people coming through this tiny little restaurant on trendy Gertrude Street in Fitzroy. I’m guessing all of them were there for good arepas and good coffee. We were there for good arepas and a promise of excellent hot chocolate.
Arepas are a traditional dish of Columbia and Venezuela. The base is a corn arepa, sort of like a thick pancake, and covered with all sorts of toppings. We had one with chorizo which was beautiful, Rich had the arepa with black pudding (‘bloody delicious’). All this washed down with fresh Guava juice, one of their many juice options.
Sonido, as you may guess from its name (it means sound in Spanish), is also all about music. Despite its small size they still managed to set aside a corner for a record player and a large selection of old Columbian records which are played throughout the day, and especially at night. In between cooking Arepas and making coffee, the owners Santiago and Carolina take turns changing the records when they finish playing. The décor is colourful and vibrant and everyone and everything just seems happier in here. Understandably, how could you not be happy here, especially when you can follow up all those delicious arepas with a traditional Columbian hot chocolate corona.
The hot chocolate is served in a traditional olleta (jug) and molinillo (stirring stick) and you have the choice of an olletica (small jug for one) for $4.50, or an olletota (big jug for two) for $8.50. We got the Olletota of course which had a good four cups worth of hot chocolate in it and I had mine con queso (with cheese), like the Columbians do. The cheese was placed in the base of the mug and the hot chocolate poured over it. After a few minutes the cheese soaked up some of the rich chocolate taste and became gooey and stringy. I had never really thought of pairing hot chocolate with cheese but really it makes a lot of sense. I love cheese, I love hot chocolate. Cheese with hot chocolate? Delicious.
Verdict: Sonido is so much fun. If it is this much fun at lunch, I can’t imagine how much fun it is at night when the music is turned up. They have an excellent hot chocolate. Sonido, 69 Gertrude Street, Fitroy, Melbourne, Australia