In a strip best known for bulk chickpeas and discount Ganesh statues, Besito has slapped the suburb awake with Five Senses coffee and zesty Colombian fare. Inside, silhouettes of tropical birds are resplendent against a magenta wall. Shabby-chic stripy tables are homely and bright, while a polished concrete floor and simple wooden chairs add balance and restraint. There’s a bunch of oversized bare bulbs for good measure – this is Melbourne, after all.
For the caffeine jaded they're doing some interesting gear like Colombian Monserrate coffee through a Clever Dripper (that's a new-fangled filter apparatus BTW) which is so fruity it practically repels sugar. But if you’re a die-hard candy fan, top it up with organic panela – unadulterated evaporated cane juice that looks like crushed caramel-coloured cookies. Or how about a Colombian hot chocolate? Made with whole chocolate and milk on the stovetop it comes with a grating fresh Pecorino-style cheese (yeah you heard us) for a truly South American savoury chocolate experience.
The fare is colourful and irrepressibly fresh. Andres Giraldo grew up under the tables of his family’s restaurants in Colombia, and his wife Shannon is trained in patisserie. They’re now guardians of the Giraldo family recipes. Palm heart ceviche is a delectable tangle of tender, artichoke-like creamy palm hearts tussled with limey rocket, herbs and gorgeous sunset-coloured curls of sweet potato. Plantains (that savoury cousin to the banana) are squished before being fried into little golden pucks, like Colombian potato cakes. Try them with a green tomatillo salsa that pings with coriander and chilli. Or how about some arepas? Fat little hot pockets of white cornmeal, perfect with loads of butter and pink salt.
Besito represents a huge leap forward for West Footscray, and as soon as the booze licence, dinner menu, and live music on Sunday arvos kick in you’ll know just where to find us.