9/1-7 Cronulla Street Cronulla, NSW 2230

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Opening hours Open daily, 7am-5.30pm
Phone 0418 202 422

Hanging in a corner of Kafenio is a T-shirt celebrating Greece's victory in the European Football Championship - in 2004.

It is not the only thing in the cafe that looks as if it's been there a while.

Some cushions on the benches have ripped upholstery. A statue of a fat man wearing a shirt printed with the words ''NO SKIM'' could do with a dust.

In a different kind of place such details would look careless, but Kafenio wears them with the charisma of a dapper old gent in a well-worn three-piece suit. The decorations (coloured children's drink bottles, family photographs, international banknotes) add a battered allure.

Kafenio is an institution and the staff work with good-humoured, no-nonsense efficiency.

''You've got to try the beetroot macarons,'' co-owner Tass Lambrou says. She is right. The magenta-coloured confections ($3 or $10 for four) have just the right mix of crumble and chew. Their passionfruit filling is a surprisingly good fit with the beetroot meringue.

Other options include salted caramel, almond and raspberry, and pistachio.

A glass cabinet by the counter is full of decadent sweets.

A flaky cherry strudel ($4) has a thick crust of icing sugar. ''The Greeks do icing sugar better than anyone,'' my companion says with a contented sigh.

The menu plays fast and loose with Greek flavours. Feta features in salads and sandwiches, and one breakfast offering combines spanakopita with poached eggs ($15).

The ''Greek delight'' is a tower of chicken breast, pumpkin, onion, feta, spinach, cashews, mustard and mayo.

Is it Greek? Perhaps not. Delightful? Certainly.

The coffee arrives colder and weaker than I like it but a post-meal pot of Turkish apple tea more than compensates. Fruity but not too sweet, it comes in a handle-less cup with a stick of cinnamon for stirring. Like everything else, it's charming and just a bit eccentric.


Address Shop 9/1-7 Cronulla Street, Cronulla, 9527 3444

Open Daily, 7am-5.30pm