121 Johnston St,
Mon – Fri 7am – 4pm
Sat – Sun 8am – 4pm
Kitchen closes at 3pm
Coffee: Axil Coffee Roasters
“Naming a cafe ‘sir’ is a bit like naming your cat Sir Puss. The cat already knows it’s great so there is no need to go over-the-top and rubbing it in. Maybe it’s just me, but jeez calling a cafe sir is a little unimaginative, unnecessary and perhaps even slightly pretentious on first glance. With cafe names like Liar Liar, Addict Food and Coffee and Loco Coffee – all of which are own and operated by Coffee Culture Communication Group – being fine examples of the new age of brunch culture, there is no room in Melbourne to get all monarchy.
Yet – perhaps in a cheeky or historic manner – this is what Coffee Culture Communication Group have set out to achieve with its latest venture. Sir Charles occupies what was once Beans and Bagel’s retail and wholesale operation on Johnston Street, Fitzroy. Tearing down the pre-existing fixtures and floor plan, the space and interior design is fit for a modern day king.
From the exterior it doesn’t do it justice. Large signage of ‘espresso bar’ and ‘restaurant’ dominate over a black backdrop. But once you enter inside it is a different story. The polished concrete floor provides familiar sense to the Fitzroy cafe scene and is juxtaposed with a soft and oddly warm industrial theme. Think bare white exposed walls and visible ventilation blended with minimalist polished furniture pieces. The space is
large and offers a variety of seating arrangement divided into inviting nooks. They also have their own roaster set up as Sir Charles continues to refine their own roasting technique.
The menu is outgoing in terms of the names it uses and the food on offer. Each food has a fun and playful name like ‘Special K’, ‘#Hash’ and ‘KFC Burger’.
The menu offerings are inviting and present a difficult choice for a weekday or weekend decision. On this occasion I was drawn to Eton Mess Waes- Belgian waffle w/ crispy meringue, jelly tip ice cream, marshmallow and fresh berries [$17].
The waffle dish was very pretty in plating and colour; but be warned, this dish is super sugary. This multi-colour dish is littered with marshmallows, dye-dolloped meringue and jelly tip ice cream that was exceptionally delicious when melted on top of the fluffy waffle. It looked incredible and tasted just as good with the variety of sugary layers to taste and experience; resembling more like a dessert from a high-end degustation rather than a brunch offering. Certainly a sugar overload, but well-worth throwing out the rule book to indulge in a plating masterpiece.
On the other end of our brunch table, JoJo has recently taken a liking for the spicy flavours; in particular, Chilli Scramble, Sir! Scrambled eggs w/ fresh chilli, chilli oil, goats cheese, Vietnamese mint, sourdough toast [$16]. Her dish was well presented and provided a pleasant chilli kick; the ideal comfort food over the winter months.
Sir Charles might be called ‘Sir’ and has some personal niggling imperfections, yet it still captured the essence of what Melbourne brunch is all about; serving great coffee and food that’s of a high standard within a visual pleasing and calming environment. Fulfilling these elements makes me feel compelled to bow down, or perhaps giving it two-thumbs up and a strong recommendation might just be sufficient.”
“I’m going to throw it out there; I have mixed feelings about royalty and the tradition of knighting someone. Whilst those bestowed with the honor of knighthood are being recognised for peacetime achievements, it seems like an archaic institute that has little to do with modern times. Sure, Sir Elton John was a great musician and donated lots of money to charity, but a knight, really? Having a ‘Sir’ or ‘Madame’ before your title certainly does make you turn your head and pay attention though, so when Sir Charles cafe kept popping up on my feeds, I couldn’t help but pay attention to the drool worthy shots coming my way.
Located on Johnston street in Fitzroy, you would never guess this classy, flashy cafe was once a bagel store. A bagel store, people! What’s more, Sir Charles is not made up of one person, but is the efforts of 3 couples plus coffee royalty, Axil Roasters. Talk about teaming! The menu here has a slight Asian slant to it and I was really taken by the Sir Charles Benedict – Panko crumbed eggs w/ Sriracha hollandaise, bacon and fresh chilli on roti [$19]. My mind immediately wandered to Lux Foundry in Brunswick, with its delightful son-in-law eggs. Mmm…crispy coated eggs.
When my meal was delivered I must admit it was better than I had imagined. While it looked perhaps a little on the small side, it ended up being quite filling. The roti was warm and crispy, the eggs crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside with a bit of heat that came through from the sriracha mayo. What was really good about it was that the sauce was not overpowering, over creamy or sickening. The balance was just right and the coriander tied the dish together nicely. The bacon gets a special mention here, because it was thick cut and beautifully cooked, adding natural salt to the dish.
I was pretty full after eating but the main thing that drew me here was the brunch-dessert, so I couldn’t escape without ordering one of their drool-worth cronuts. The options at late morning were limited, and so I ordered the most photogenic of the lot, the lemon meringue and blueberry cronut to share with Mr LB and JoJo. I tell you, filled cronuts are not made for sharing! I made a spectacular mess cutting this beast of a thing into quarters, but it was worth sharing the love. The meringue inside was beautifully done; revealed a tangy curd-like filling with little pops of nectarine and blueberries, encased by a crunchy, buttery exterior that was lightly dusted with sugar.
Overall, Sir Charles delivered a great dining experience. The food here is on point and done well, and the desserts are definitely worth popping in for. I look forward to coming by again!”
Final thought: “Brunch dessert that will cause some serious food envy “