In the back streets of Birchgrove is a locally loved cafe that after six years has had a makeover. Charlotte cafe sits in a small enclave of shops at the corner of Rowntree and Cameron Streets and is a welcoming eatery that feels like a second home. The new look is warmed by the wood tones of blackbutt, coloured glass details, vintage school chairs and shelves lined with pickle jars.
Founder Jason Ghebar specialises in detailed latte art and perfectly stretched milk. The menu here is generous and comforting. Mother of the owner, Helen Ghebar, can often be found stirring a pot in the kitchen, putting her own touches to family recipes. A huge chalkboard menu offers breakfasts of Birchgrove benedict; sticky black-rice porridge with raw coconut and cinnamon; or omelettes laden with smoky chorizo and sweet onion.
At lunch there are wraps filled with homemade falafel or perri perri lamb and salads of tuna and walnut or Thai chicken. Pastas such as tiger-prawn squid-ink spaghetti or smoked salmon puttanesca are more substantial options. There is also pulled-pork and Southern fried-chicken burgers. Charlotte is worth venturing off the main drag of Balmain for; you’ll be welcomed like a local from the moment you step inside.