La Onda Latin Mex is a combination of Latin history, appreciation of all things food, carefully thought-out and unique interiors, and simple, local family love. It's the newest restaurant to hit the main street of Dromana. If you haven't already attended this fab new venue in the summer holiday slam, then you should diarise this one ASAP. It's in a league of it's own here on the peninsula, and anywhere else I have dined for that matter. Each aspect of the space, the menu, the drinks list, the ingredients chosen, the decision to only seat 50 winers and diners, together has formed a force to be reckoned with. La Onda is a true dining experience, a chance to meet the owners, learn about their history and appreciate (as well as bloody well ENJOY) the Flore's family take on Latin cuisine. Sharing their sacred family recipes in a relaxed setting, the Flore's family want their visitors to feel as if they are part of the family, being cooked for and fussed over as they have done so for their children, mother's, brother's, sisters, cousins, cousins of cousins- you get the point, over the past 40 years.
I attended with my usual foodie partner in crime, Daniel, and he too was impressed. So much so, we are returning this Friday, as per his instructions, to share the La Onda Mex experience with his beautiful parents. When we dined, we sat at the bar stools, which overlook the open kitchen, and we will be doing so again. The Flore's fam want you to see, feel, hear and smell what they are doing in the kitchen, and quite literally- show you. I loved the unique aspect and addition to a usual dinner. To see the chef's using herbs picked from plants on the bench right in front of you, and preparing food in front of your eyes, makes for a personal touch. Daniel saw it as an opportunity to view what he wanted to try the next time we visit. I can confirm, after two hours of watching the kitchen at work, he wants to try: EVERYTHING.
One day we will work our way through the entire menu, but until then, I'll share our little Latin slice of La Onda we were pleased to experience last week. We began with drinks, standard. Daniel picked a latin beer, and I, something for celebrating (it was after all Peninsula Lifestyle's 4th birthday weekend!), a frozen lime margarita. Both hit the spot for Friday after-work knock offs. To begin our heavenly food journey, we had the lightly seared barramundi salad, which was topped with one of my FAVE herbs: coriander, and mixed with red onion, celery, avocado and a side of corn chips. This was the first dish, and without a doubt one of my favourites of the night. Even Daniel loved it, which is a big step for a non-seafood eater. I, on the other hand, tend to favour anything that comes salty. It's no surprise that my next favourite dish was the fish taco. I know, I know, it sounds so simple, and it's something we have all enjoyed countless times, but god DAMN this one was good. The Flore's family have their own twist on core ingredients like the sauce, and give each dish and it's components allllll the love they need to really impress and satisfy our little stomachs. A few of the other dishes we tried, included the sweet potato slices- a Latin and gourmet take on the usual, but much loved "chips", fried chicken covered in a chocolate based sauce (one of Daniel's absolute winners of the night)
For sweets, we tried a heavenly cake, that was (I know this is a word so many people hate), but you're just going to have to DEAL with it...), moist, fluffy, and just melted in your mouth. It was topped with whipped cream, that was light enough not to overpower the dish, and drizzled in a strawberry-type jam/sauce. Yeah, YUM. We also shared a coffee pot, which in true Mexican style, was infused with cinnamon and pomegranate. Roxie, the beautiful chef, owner, and head of the Flores family, described La Onda's coffee as "an experience" with "no milk that ruins the coffee". She didn't need to convince me much, coffee is one of my true loves in life- aside from you of course, Daniel- so this unique take on my favourite drink was a done deal for me. You won me over La Onda- I'm yours forever.
As the Flores family put it: Moonlit your inner philosopher, be a life activists, harvest the goodness in your heart and be El Magico: humble, supremely talented and simply happy. Now I don't particularly know what that means, but when partnered with their fish taco, I think it'll make sense. See you Friday Flores Family- we can't wait!