One of the first cafes we reviewed for Little Munch was the very kid friendly Hopscotch Cafe at Wareemba. It closed its doors a few months back, so we decided to pop over there recently to see what it had been replaced with. I'm excited to tell you that a very good cafe called Carmel's is now operating from there and whilst it's not as kid friendly (i.e. it doesn't have any toys) everything else about the cafe is fantastic.
Carmel's is named after the owner, a vibrant foodie who previously owned a restaurant in nearby Drummoyne. Carmel has turned the space into a warm and welcoming family friendly cafe, that has a firm Italian influence to both the interior design and the menu. The above photo (taken from Carmel's Facebook page) highlights the changes to the interior.
When we arrived on a busy Sunday morning the place was buzzing and all the tables were taken. Luckily for us, the staff kindly made room for us at a communal table up the back near the kitchen which was reserved for an hour later. When dining with my dear little boys we never linger long, especially when they don't have any activities to occupy themselves with, so being in and out in hour was not going to be a problem for us. This is a great spot to sit as a family because you can check out all of the kitchen staff in action, it is right next to the excellent toilet facilities that contain a baby change table and you are also close to the back door that you can escape out of, if one of your brood have an embarrassing melt down and you need some time out with them.
Knowing that we needed to be in and out in an hour, the staff quickly took our orders and served us our food. They serve Vittoria coffee at Carmel's and it was perfectly brewed. The boys had a babycino which came with no adornment and a freshly squeezed apple juice served in a takeaway cup.
They have a kids menu for both breakfast and lunch and there are three items on each. For breakfast the options are: toast & spread $3; ricotta pancake with maple syrup and ice cream $7.50; and one free range egg, a rasher of bacon and toast $8.50. The boys had the toast and a freshly baked muffin ($5.00) - banana bread and fruit toast are also on the adults menu if your kidlets would prefer those. At lunch time the menu items for kids are: ham & cheese sandwich $6.50; penne napoli $11.50; and schnitzel & chips $13.50.
Now on to the adults food, the breakfast menu is available all day which will no doubt impress weekend diners. I think Mr Munch needs to start his own review site on Sydney's best bacon & egg rolls (perhaps he can call it Little Oink) as he yet again ordered one. According to him Carmel's version for $9.50 is up there with the best in the city as it was full of smoked bacon and it had the tasty addition of provolone cheese. The roll too was delicious - an Italian panino from the ovens of another Little Munch favourite - Mercato e Cucina in Gladesville.
We dined with a dear friend who lives nearby and she ordered the Scarpetta Eggs ($15) - eggs baked in diced tomato, capsicum and pancetta and I had the 3 cheeses omelette ($13.50) which was oozing with asiago, pecorino and dolce provolone and there was some pancetta thrown in for good measure. We all agreed that our breakfasts were delicious. My friend had dined at Carmel's earlier in the week at lunch time and she was quite impressed with their lunch time offerings.
Just to give you an idea of what you can indulge in at lunch, the menu covers meatballs (served by themselves in a panino or with spaghetti), pasta, burgers, salads and panini. Lunch time menu items range from $10.50 for a panini up to $19.50 for a linguini gamberi. There are also some very decadent sweet treats available on the front counter if you are only in need of a little pick me up with your coffee.
So whilst it is sad that Sydney has lost one of its great child friendly cafes, Carmel's is still a very good cafe. Besides the decent food and coffee another big attraction for me was that Carmel's family all seem to help her out in the cafe. Her gorgeous old Dad, Pietro, was there wiping down tables and carrying clean glasses and coffee cups from the kitchen to the front counter. Locals were greeted like long lost relatives (perhaps they were) and there was lots of laughter bounding off the walls - it's most definitely a cafe we will be back to x
284 Great North Rd, Wareemba NSW
02 9712 7006
Open 7days: 7am - 4pm