Olas Arepas (Ponsonby Central, Auckland, New Zealand)
Olas Arepas, as the name suggest this restaurant specialises in Arepas, a flat bread made of corn meal from Venezuela and Columbia. With regards to Olas, meaning “waves” in Spanish, I am not really sure why, probably the dishes are popular near coastlines? Well that’s just my assumption. Anyways, we tried this restaurant several weeks ago as I was planning to make my own Areapas at home but never tried the real thing yet. To achieve what I want, I need to baseline it by trying the real thing first if possible, luckily I don’t have to travel to Venezuela or Columbia to give it a go because this nice little food stall in Ponsonby Central serves one.
Obviously it is my first time to try an Arepas so I did not know what to expect. The taste, the texture, the only clue I had was on food documentaries so I was really excited, it definitely is something new to me. We came here for a dinner and the goal was to try it but after looking at the menu, there are many other options, so surely it’s not just Arepas we are getting, we definitely have to get that Picadita (NZ$52.00) to try many different food item this place is offering.
Picadita, is their biggest meal, offering many different items like Spanish Chorizo, Pork Belly, Sautéed Steak, Arepitas, Mini Tostones, Cassava Fries, Halloumi Cheese and Greens. It is served with Guasacaca Sauce, Cherry tomato Salsa and Mojo Mayo.
Off course we came here for the Areapas so we grabbed an Arepa Burger with Fries (NZ$23.00), prepared with Wagyu Beef Patty, Cheddar Cheese, Smoked Bacon, Sweet Plantains, Greens, Cherry Tomato Salsa and Mojo Mayo.
First thing I grabbed was the arepa and it was a surprise, I was imagining a different texture but I was presented with a crunchy shell but soft chewy insides, it was actually nice and really enjoyed it. Since we grabbed the Burger Arepa I can compare it with the normal burger, it felt definitely lighter but it felt it lasted longer in the tummy. As for the fillings, since the outer layer is crunchy, it was offsetted by the generous sauce and the juicy patty, the flavourful fillings definitely is a good match with the neutral flavoured flat bread. The textures definitely is the main quality of this dish but having said that the taste was great too.
Moving on to the star of the show, the Picadita, like your typical South American fare all meats were grilled so you should expect for a really tasty smoky treat, there is a lot of things going on this dish and all proteins were great, seasoned really well and cooked perfectly. There are three types of carbs as well Arepitas (small arepas), Mini Tostones (flattened plantains) and Cassava Fries. There is also a grilled halloumi cheese which I really liked. One of my surprising discovery was those cassava fries, they were addictive, nice crunch outside with a creamy inside, and I can’t stop munching on them, but be warned they are heavy compared to other types of fries, so this will definitely fill you up.
It is a pretty good place for lunch or dinner, located in the heart of Ponsonby so location was great too. Service is fast and the food was great, definitely a place to go if you want to taste the flavours of South America. The only concern was the price, like most people do, it was pricey compared to others but was it worth the price, I say yes if it’s your first time, yes if you are craving for a South American dish but no if you will be doing this on a regular basis.
Address: 136 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011, New Zealand
Phone: +64210 233 7695