Restaurant Review: Cruzao Arepa Bar

Location: 365 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Phone: 03 9417 7871
Cuisine: Venezuelan, Latin American, Tapas
Overall Impression: 7/10

Venezuelan food is far from mainstream but that is precisely why J and I were excited to have our first try of it at Cruzao Arepa Bar.
A must try is the arepa which is a fluffy corn flour pocket that is slightly crisp on the outside from being cooked on a hot grill. It is usually enjoyed with fillings. To fill it, all you do is pry it open and fill it as you please.  
Basket of arepas, guasacaca (creamy avocado paste), salad (we received a fresca salad – beetroot, mint and feta), cheese and your choice of fillings (we chose shredded beef, pork leg and black bean)
We decided to order the ‘Platoes’ which came with arepas, an avocado paste, a salad, cheese and our choice of fillings. We decided to get the shredded beef, pork leg and black bean fillings. The carne mechada was a winner. The beef had been beautifully slow cooked in a tomato salsa and shredded. It was incredibly tender and delicious. The pernil (pork leg) was also very good. It was decadent and had a strong garlic and red wine flavour and a hint of sweetness from the use of sugar cane. The black beans were also delectably good. 
Salad: Palmilo – palm heart and artichoke salad
We also ordered a side of Palmilo which is a palm heart and artichoke salad. This was deliciously fresh and went incredibly well with our arepas. 
The food at Cruzao Arepa Bar is fresh, vibrant and healthy. The ambience is relaxed and friendly and the staff are lovely. It was certainly a brilliant introduction to Venezuelan cuisine. J and I cannot wait to go back for more.

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