Eliza tweeted us a few weeks ago to recommend Charlie Foxtrot, one of Brunswick's many cafes that we've failed to visit thanks to the inexorable pull of Wide Open Road. We finally achieved exit velocity this weekend and made our way up with a visiting friend to check it out. It's a very stylish cafe with exposed brick, geometric light fittings, a model plane hanging from the ceiling, a wall-mounted herb garden and a small light-filled back room that we parked in.
The menu isn't loaded with vegetarian options and has some very confused labelling (the baked eggs with three kinds of cheese was 'vegan' and my genuinely vegetarian dish had a 'vegetarian option available' - you're basically going to have to ask). Still, what there is to choose from is a bit more interesting than the standard egg and bean options. There's ricotta fritters with mushrooms and a pea fondue ($16.50), a stinging nettle omelette ($14, which I'm assuming can be done veg in spite of the lack of a label) and granola with house-made almond milk and poached raspberry rhubarb ($12) - it all sounded pretty great.
Cindy stuck with the sweet side of the menu, going with the poached pears on brioche with marscapone cream and honeyed walnuts ($15.50).
It was artfully presented, with a two soft pear halves sprinkled in sugarred-up nuts and covered in sweet syrup and a generous dob of marscapone. The brioche was cakey without being soggy and Cindy was happy that they served up a whole pear rather than just a few slivers.
After clarifying that it was actually vegetarian, I ordered the poached eggs with chickpea panella, spiced kasundi and herbed quinoa ($16).
The panella is basically a fried up chunk of chickpea dough and served as a kind of surrogate toast in this dish. It was lovely too - dense without being heavy and absorbent enough to soak up the runny eggs. The kasundi was the highlight though - spicy and tangy and lifting this dish to something a bit fancier than just eggs on toast. It was nice to get a good load of greens as well.
Our dining companion ordered the baked eggs in tomato sugo with soft gnudi (cheesy gnochhi) and toast ($15.50)
It was breakfast with a spoon - loads of sauce and some very squishy cheese dumplings topped with a couple of baked eggs. It looked delicious.
We were all pretty impressed with Foxtrot Charlie - the three dishes we tried were executed perfectly. The staff were friendly and the setting pleasant enough - the sweets at the counter looked pretty decent as well.
Price-wise Foxtrot Charlie is kind of mid-range for Brunswick: not as expensive as Wide Open Road or Code Black, but pricier than The Green Refectory. The menu doesn't have so much variety that we'll be coming back every weekend, but it's another excellent cafe in a suburb increasingly full of them.
Foxtrot Charlie has been around for about five months now, but only Hey Bambini and Ebezilla's Food Blog have reviewed it.
359 Sydney Road, Brunswick
Accessibility: Excellent. A flat entryway and a reasonably spacious interior (although there's a bit of a bottleneck between the front and back rooms). Ordering is at the table and payment at a low counter. There's a fully accessible, unisex toilet.