Located on the Plac Zbawiciela, three tram stops south of the main thoroughfare of Al. Jerozoliemskie along the Marszałkowska, Maison Charlotte is convenient to the many hotels near the city’s central train station and to the Centrum area.
|Croque Monsieur and coffee|
But it was indeed both authentic and quite good.
Less than three years old, Maison Charlotte has generated a lot of buzz locally, particularly among the hipsters who like to frequent the place for a glass or carafe of house wine in the evenings. The weather was too cool to enjoy sitting outside during my late February visit, but the vibe inside was warm and welcoming – at least as much as it can be within the bounds of typical French aloofness.
For breakfast on my first visit, I chose a Croque Monsieur - a grilled ham and cheese sandwich that uses a cheese sauce made with Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses – a croissant, coffee and a glass of Beltoure, a French white sparkling wine from the Loiré region.
The Croque Monsieur was on point: warm, melty cheese on top, tender ham sitting between two slices of toasty bread with a thin layer of Dijon mustard. I’m betting it was Maille or another French brand several notches up from the ubiquitous Grey Poupon. The croissant was fresh and flaky on the outside, tender and moist on the inside. Served with white chocolate, dark chocolate and raspberry spreads, it was more carbs than I needed, but who cared? It was delicious!
|Pain perdu, coffee and sparkling wine|
Service was as good as any I had while in Poland, which is to say rather casual by American standards. I was greeted promptly on both visits, my orders taken quickly and the food served swiftly. However, second cups of coffee (at an additional charge) or ordering additional food items required flagging down my server, as servers in Poland don’t check back very often. Finally, when one is ready to leave, you have to ask for the bill, which is not dropped off automatically as in North America.
|Croissant with coffee and spread|
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Photos by Carl Dombek
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