Few places to eat in Sydney can prompt you to declare that it’s so tacky it’s cool, but Little Ethels can. Garden party-style retro tables and chairs atop a carpet of artificial grass, colourful gnomes and a white picket fence. This quirky little café is named after shop-owner Jamie Woolcott’s granny, and it’s already one of Balmain’s most popular – quite a feat for a suburb bursting at the seams with choices. Food includes scrumptious scrambled eggs, sandwiches and pastries, and potent coffee brewed with Single Origin beans. Queues can snake out the door in the breakfast rush – if you manage to grab one of the few tables, order the thick slices of toasted sourdough with avocado, mushrooms, tomato, onion and basil.