Fitzroy's ever-popular Colombian joint Sonido now has a sister cafe in Preston. Arepa Days focuses on its namesake dish: a South American maize flatbread that's typically stuffed with a variety of savoury brekkie options.
It's a staple in the home country of owners Santiago and Carolina Villamizar, who moved to Australia 12 years ago and have since become the go-to couple for authentic arepas in Melbourne. Arepa Days even doubles as Arepa Lab, a food production kitchen that also bakes for Sonido and other local cafes and restaurants.
In Preston, the duo has taken over an abandoned printing shop and turned it into a space reminiscent of Sonido, but with its own charm. Pastel blue and bright yellow hues are accompanied by a light timber ceiling and furnishings. The homey feel makes sense, considering the Villamizar's did all of the construction themselves.
On the menu, arepa bases come with a variety of traditional Colombian toppings, including chorizo, chicken and blood pudding sausage. Plus, more toppings cater to the Aussie palate — think bacon, egg and cheese, or Vegemite, guacamole and tomato. Sides can be mixed and matched and a create-your-own arepa option is also on offer.
For drinks, there's coffee by Wood and Co, with a Colombian single origin used for espressos and a rotating South American single origin for batch brews. There are also fresh juices, tea by Assembly and Love Chai, and Colombian hot chocolate (with cheese, mind you) to round out the drink offering.
Images: Kate Shanasy