2-4 Barnes Ave Earlwood, NSW 2206
|Opening hours||Mon-Fri 6am-4pm, Sat-Sun 7am-3pm|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
Encountering Frank & Chitch, a brand new cafe in the heart of Earlwood near the Cooks River, is like discovering a cartoon on a residential street corner.
Painted bright white with a peach-pink front doorframe and big brass lettering spelling its name on wide black awnings, like a title on an Art Deco movie poster, it's also an oasis of well-kempt design and order.
Inside are two rooms with minimal decor and delicately pale green front counter tiling. It's the same hue as the labels on coffee bean packets lining high shelves, and the cardboard takeaway cups stacked beside the coffee machine.
Every staff member is wearing a full black apron over a white T-shirt, the suspended frosted-glass light globes are in perfect synchronicity with each other and two huge window frames and I swear the footpath has been scrubbed beneath the long line of outdoor tables.
Calm, calm, calm. The world may be falling to pieces but here the brass cutlery glows like the golden milk frothing jug pouring lattes and the gleaming street number fixed on the cafe's letterbox.
The decor is an Instagramer's dream but we'll be coming back for other things. First, the food.
Frank & Chitch's menu is divided between breakfast and lunch, the latter served after 11am. It's breakfast time so there are nine options ranging from eggs on toast to a classic bacon and egg roll, eggs Benedict, and French toast alongside two breakfast bowls and a pudding.
We go to town with eggs Benedict served with sautéed greens, a coconut and mango chia pudding, a bacon and egg roll spilling lushly double-smoked rashers and a breakfast bowl with smoked salmon. Servings are generous, on curvy pastel plates, and elevated by presentation and the high standard of ingredients.
The stand-out is eggs benedict with a hefty dollop of mouth-watering hollandaise sauce and a tender mini-stack of broccolini and spinach. The chia bowl, apart from looking like a handsome spring field of strawberries, blueberries, coconut flakes and purple and yellow petals, is light, creamy and mango-sweet. The smoked salmon, with the breakfast bowl's poached egg, brown rice, raw kale and quinoa, is proper stuff - fresh, blushing pink fish that outshines the vivid orange version.
Coffee, by Little Marionette, is deemed as full of flavour as a long black, and is a creamy and strong flat white.
The other reason to return is the service. Staff are cheery, knowledgeable and noticeably working to create a community feeling for visitors.
Frank & Chitch, which opened in November, is the brain-child of Nick Retsas , who formerly ran Bean Haus in Redfern. He named the cafe as a tribute to his friend Anthony, nicknamed Chitch, and Anthony's British bulldog, Frank. Frank died while travelling in the cargo hold of a domestic plane in 2019.
In honour of Frank, who always accompanied Anthony to Retsas's cafe, Frank & Chitch has generous water bowls, shade and healthy treats for dogs. A bulldog statue is placed prominently on the counter.
Give him a pat while visiting this spruce island of large lovely dishes, smart tones and furnishings and staff who wave goodbye at the peach-pink doorway.
Frank & Chitch
Main attraction: Generous servings, immaculately smart decor and spacious street seating under a wide, shady shop awning in peaceful suburbia.
Must-try dish: Lusciously creamy eggs benedict with peppery hollandaise sauce and a gleaming stack of steamed broccolini and spinach.
Insta-worthy dish: Coconut mango chia pudding with chopped pineapple, blueberry and strawberry, flecked with roasted coconut flakes and edible yellow and purple pansies.
Drinks: Little Marionette coffee $3.50-$8; tea $4.40-$6.50; cold pressed juice $6; $7; smoothies and shakes $6-$8; soft drinks $5; sparkling water $4-$6.