A cartoon that has been doing the rounds lately depicts four maps of Sydney, each labelled to show what we supposedly think of each other. Thus, to those on the north shore, the inner west is populated entirely by ''hippies'' and for people in the inner west, the east is home to ''bourgeois pigs''.
You get the picture.
According to this version of reality, about the only thing the rest of Sydney agrees on is that people in the shire are all bogans.
But having enjoyed a chilled-out (and slightly chilly) Sunday lunch at one of Cronulla's better known cafe-restaurants, being called names by the rest of Sydney seems a small price for locals to pay if it means they can keep some of Sydney's most spectacular spots to themselves.
And they don't come much more spectacular than the position enjoyed by Alley Break.
The cafe sits opposite a park and takes in magnificent views along Cronulla beach towards the surf break that gives it its name and then all the way to Kurnell. Somewhere beyond that is the city but it might as well be a million miles away.
The Sunday lunch crowd is a mix of families and older couples, plus a fair number of the thongs/hoodie/Ray-Ban tribe and a sprinkling of the weekend Lycra mob, who have left their bikes stacked nearby.
It's surprisingly busy, even with the ordinary weather. We can only imagine how popular the place is when the sun shines. Judging by the number of all-day breakfasts and coffees being served at noon, lunchtime diners are still giving way to the brunch crowd.
There is a large outdoor area and despite the threat of rain (contrary to what the locals will tell you, the sun doesn't always shine in the shire), we join the majority of customers in plumping for an outside table with the magnificent beach views.
The lunch menu is short and to the point, offering six mains and three blackboard specials.
Service is casual but efficient and delivered by a group of young waitresses who look as if they would be just as at home in wetsuits at the other Alley break further up the beach.
When our youngest child accidentally sweeps a bottle of lemonade off the table, as kids are wont to do, the broken glass is removed with minimum fuss and a replacement (on the house) appears immediately.
On the specials board is a roast pork loin with roast vegies, which seems perfect for the rather wintry day. It turns out to be two beautifully moist, generous slices of meat edged with perfect crackling on a bed of roast carrot, parsnips, potato, onion and garlic. A slice of caramelised vanilla pear adds a welcome sweet note.
Meanwhile, the hearty zucca salad is a riot of semi-dried tomatoes, grilled chicken and toasted pepitas with an interesting orange, cinnamon and star anise emulsion.
The only thing that disappoints is the salt and pepper calamari in besan flour, which is a little gluggy in texture with uneven seasoning.
That small niggle aside, there is a lot to like about Alley Break. Like much of the shire, it's bright, breezy and unpretentious. And, contrary to popular belief, there's not a bogan in sight.
ALLEY BREAK CAFE
2/4-6 The Kingsway,
Cronulla, 9527 6119
Open seven days,
6am-3.30pm; licensed and BYO wine only
Hearty all-day breakfast and eclectic salads, fish and meat dishes.
Excellent: entrees $6-$9; mains $18-$24.
- 02 9527 6119
- Prices - Entrees $6-$9; mains $18 - $24
- Opening Hours - Open seven days, 6am - 3.30pm