The World Loves Melborune visited the successful Spanish Nights at CH James and published this review on their site...
CH James, the savvy cafe/festive space in Fairfleid has impressed locals with a series of Spanish Nights (their events are always top notch with more to come this year). The World Loves Melbourne was invited along to experience the festive vibe. Surely CH James has one of the best atmospheres for a cafe in Melbourne! The entrepreneur CH James (flamboyant character of the 1880s in Melbourne's northern suburbs) would be well pleased!
The Spanish Nights are part of a series of events CH James has planned for the rest of the year. Normally CH James is open for day trade as a cafe, but also has a functions space called Valensia that is also super popular. But with a superb courtyard next to an old church, the ambience in the evening is compelling. Hence CH James puts on night events as a special offering.
Sangrias and Paella! Head Chef Talon is hugely talented. With a packed house over several sittings he was able to cook up 3 magnificent paellas and seamlessly feed the hungry crowd all night. Paellas consisted of a mixed paella with chorizo, chicken and seafood, as well as 2 vegetarian paellas. These were chunky paellas full of quality ingredients, and with a decent stock/broth. Talon took his time preparing and crafting the intense sofrito stock to form the paella.
The mixed paella was well composed on the plate, not too soggy, and the flavour was absorped into the quality calasparra rice. The flavours were intense from the excellent stock preparation. Sofrito is such a key element to a great paella. Gran sabor!
Sangrias are also spot on with pieces of fruit in the glass.
Over the years I've been a big fan of the paella enjoying it all over the world. I love paella not just for the culinary bliss, but for the whole communal aspect of it. I understand the paella is a tradition in the countryside and streets of Spain where it's often out in the open for all to see. Paella is at the heart of community. And no better place to express this as in Station St Fairfield - with the open layout of CH James to Station St it there was a strong feeling of "community" at the event.
We were also served some tapas to begin; something unexpected and welcomed.
We noticed quite a few groups of friends, families and couples - CH James is a cafe for the people - in line with the entrepreneurial and social exploits of the businessman CH James in the norther suburbs of Melbourne in the 1880s.
CH James has alsways put on fun and successful events and if the Spanish Nights are anything to go by, we look forward to events planned for the rest of the year."