As the year hurtles towards its close, Everton Plaza’s new foodie hub starts to fill in its remaining gaps. Following on from the first wave of arrivals (5 Boroughs, Stellarossa, Neighbourhood Market Co.) comes Comuna Cantina, the first headline tenant to open in Park Lane. The brainchild of restaurateur Tim Johnson (Corbett & Claude, Mr. Claud), Comuna Cantina is a snazzy eatery and bar concept that blends flavoursome South American-inspired fare with a drinks list flush with Instagram-worthy cocktails. Comuna Cantina first burst onto the scene in 2016, making its mark with its debut location on Albert Lane, tucked away just off Queen Street Mall. Although boasting a small physical footprint, Comuna Cantina’s mix of shareable Latin American fare, invigorating cocktails, ultra-chic interior design scheme and high-energy atmosphere has ensured it’s remained an inner-city mainstay since day dot. When it came time to recruit tenants for Everton Plaza’s new foodie hub, the precinct’s developers sought a vendor that could deliver on a concept that enticed locals of the surrounding suburbs – a catchment of more than 200,000 residents. After being filled in on the Everton Plaza vision, Tim signed on to bring sibling venues for Comuna Cantina and Corbett & Claude to the area, enamoured with the idea of fully realising both concepts without space restrictions inhibiting their true potential. On first inspection, you’ll notice there’s plenty more room for sipping, snacking and shimmying at Comuna Cantina’s Everton Plaza location. Gorgeous murals adorn Park Lane’s walls and Comuna’s external kiosk bar, as well as a neon sign displaying Comuna’s mantra ‘but first, we dance’. A chic interior space boasts a vivid pink-and-white colour scheme, enhanced by brass detailing, plenty of greenery and tasteful photos on the wall depicting sun-blasted landscapes and cacti. A dual-sided kitchen stretches from the laneway to Stafford Road, where a window facilitates takeaway orders, UberEATS pick-ups and grab-and-go coffee purchases.
Comuna Cantina’s full menu has been transplanted across to Everton Plaza (as well as some exclusive newcomers), with a plethora of dishes taking various South American cuisines. Starters such as crispy calamari, sweet-potato chips, haloumi chips and grilled corn bring tastebuds to attention before more sizeable servings come into play. If variety is the spice of life, then consider Comuna Cantina’s menu liberally sprinkled with it. Guests can choose to chomp on eight taco varieties (available in soft or hard-shell format), four burritos, four kinds of nachos, five salads, four quesadillas, and three hot bowls. The fillings aren’t your run-of-the-mill variations on Tex-Mex, either – jalapeno chicken, crumbed cauliflower, pulled pork, chilli con carne and grilled mushroom offers options for most dietary requirements. One click of Comuna Cantina’s tagged photo feed on Instagram will give you an up-close look at all of the bar’s vibrant cocktails, which include mind-blowing signatures such as the Comuna Candyman (a vodka and elderflower mix with a hundreds-and-thousands rim), the candy-laden Bubblegum Sour, blood-orange hued Pink Paloma and four kinds of margarita. A special Everton Park-exclusive martini boasts a blue peacock wafer delicately placed on top – linking back to the venue’s own striking peacock mural. A breakfast menu will be unveiled soon, while the full menu itself is expected to evolve over time as the kitchen team dreams up new dishes. Comuna Cantina will host salsa dancing sessions every second Sunday, while DJs will curate the party atmosphere every weekend.
Comuna Cantina opens officially tomorrow, Thursday September 19. The fun doesn’t stop here for Tim and his team. Before the year’s out, Comuna Cantina will be joined by a new Corbett & Claude location, as well as Rhodes – a rooftop bar inspired by coastal Italian hospitality. For now, you can find Comuna Cantina’s opening hours and contact details in the Stumble Guide.