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Thursday, July 25, 2013

In The Annex, Forest Lodge

winter vegetable salad at in the annex cafe forest lodge glebe

If you've never been excited by a bowl of vegetables, then the winter salad by In The Annex might just change all that. In fact, it's hard not to clap your hands like an excited child when it arrives at the table, looking more like a vegetable plot than your lunch.

It's one of the many surprises encountered here, tucked away in a corner of Forest Lodge within "the annex" between Camperdown and Glebe. Formerly a chemist, the shop has been completely overhauled into a cosy nook with eclectic furnishings. Recycled timber was used to erect the coffee bar and seating comes from old railway sleepers and a converted tree trunk.

recycled furnishings and second hand knick knacks at in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe
Recycled furnishings and second-hand knick knacks

hipster beakers, mason jars and souvenir spoons at in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe
Beakers, mason jars and and souvenir spoons

Miniature beakers of sugar and souvenir teaspoons line each table, water is served in mismatched vintage glasses, and there's an abundance of greenery planted in every receptacle you can imagine. Tiny espresso cups, mason jars, coffee pots and even a stack of novels have life sprouting forth.

succulent growing in book at in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe
Now that's a novel way to grow a succulent

tea cup and tea cosy at in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe
Tea cups and tea cosies

Heading up the kitchen is Joey Astorga, last seen as head chef at El Capo, working with co-owners Edrick Santos (usually found behind the coffee machine) and Theo Hlorotiris. The menu is brief but different: breakast offers earl grey bircher muesli ($10), kale and egg rolls ($6.50) and an eggs, rice and beans breakfast burrito ($10) that is one of their biggest sellers.

organic bread bar loaves at in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe
Organic Bread Bar loaves

Lunch (titled as "brunchy plates") reads more like a list of ingredients than a menu. "Roasted potato, pickled zucchini, cheddar $15" sounds alluring, as does the "crumbed egg, mushy peas $15". And if you needed any more reassurance, a message at the bottom of the menu reads "Annex chooses to use sustainably farmed meats and free range eggs".

cured duck, roasted brussel sprouts, brioche and duck egg lunch plate at in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe
Cured duck, roasted brussel sprouts, brioche, duck egg $16

Perhaps the menu is deliberately vague so customers are all the more surprised when "cured duck, roasted brussel sprouts, brioche, duck egg $16" comes out looking more like a contemporary artwork on a plate. It's hard not to marvel at the elaborate plating in a suburban cafe.

runny duck egg yolk at in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe
Duck egg

Curls of cured duck that taste remarkably like jamon nestle among brussel sprouts, roasted until caramelised and nutty. Toasted brioche is fluffy and light, enriched with a rich oozing yolk of a gently poached egg.

potted edible winter vegetables at in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe
Winter vegetables, grains, olives and sheep feta $14

The winter vegetable salad is a feat of painstaking construction, involving both chefs working on the bowl for several minutes.

social media chefs instagramming in the kitchen at in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe
Instagramming in the kitchen

I love that the chefs are keen Instagrammers too. That's our salad above and the pic they posted.

winter vegetable bowl at in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe
Winter vegetables

There may be echoes of Rene Redzepi's radishes in soil at Noma in this dish, but this salad is resolutely fun. There's a wicked sense of plunder as you mosey around the manufactured garden, plucking a baby heirloom carrot here, or a thinly shaved radish there. Toasted grains, olive slivers and a bed of fetta create the soil at the bottom, adding a crunchy dip for your fancy crudites.

hubba bubba lamington and single origin venezuelan chocolate brownie desserts at in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe
Hubba bubba lamington and single origin Venezuelan chocolate brownies $2 each

Desserts sit in the window display and are worth exploring too. Not pictured are the Campari cakes that were topped with ruby grapefruit and a dollop of chocolate.

short black coffee at in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe
Short black $3.50

They pride themselves on their coffee here, using a house blend for white coffees and a single origin for blacks. I missed out on the single origin due to a coffee bean changeover, but even the house blend espresso had a sweet robustness that was relished.

single origin venezuelan chocolate brownie and hubba bubba lamington desserts at in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe
Single origin Venezuelan chocolate brownie $2 
and Hubba Bubba lamington $2

We got stuck into the single origin Venezuelan chocolate brownie, rich with cocoa and almost fudgy in texture. And how could we resist the Hubba Bubba lamington? It really was reminiscent of the bubblegum from your childhood.

flat white coffee at in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe
Flat white $3.50

I may also be a little in love with this suited up panda bear. Kawaii!

outside in the annex cafe, forest lodge, glebe

View Larger Map
In the Annex on Urbanspoon

In The Annex
35 Ross Street, Forest Lodge, Sydney
Tel: +61 (0)415 702 730

Opening hours
Monday to Friday 6am-4pm
Saturday to Sunday 7am-4pm

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Glebe - Tommy's Beer Cafe
16 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/25/2013 05:52:00 am


  • At 7/25/2013 9:46 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Great looking place, with all the quirks! And the dishes sound quite spectacular :)

  • At 7/25/2013 9:50 am, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    this is actually really close to my workplace! must go check it out!

  • At 7/25/2013 10:03 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    They need to turn the music level right down, first time I went there for breakfast my eardrums got damaged. Otherwise it is a wonderful place and food is great.

  • At 7/25/2013 5:08 pm, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    cuteness overload. Love that book ot plant - now that's creative! Love the duck egg yolk ooze!

  • At 7/25/2013 8:51 pm, Blogger MAB vs Food said…

    I need to take my vegetarian wife to this place for that winter vegetable salad. Looks amazing!! Thanks for the review

  • At 7/26/2013 9:31 am, Anonymous Mary @ beyondjelly said…

    What gorgeous looking food! And so affordable!

  • At 7/26/2013 11:54 am, Anonymous bob @jugernauts.com said…

    food here looks really good. Liking the look of that cured duck dish and at $16, a bargain! on my to-try place.

    also the book with the plant in it? You can buy it from that odd curio/restored furniture shop in glebe. Its the 1st shop on the left side of the road past where the glebe markets is.

  • At 7/26/2013 4:02 pm, Anonymous gastronomous anonymous said…

    i have heard wonderful things about this place! will definitely check it out when i am in Sydney next! yay!

  • At 7/27/2013 5:12 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    My heart was thumping throughout this post. ALL THE THINGS!

    Oh, hubba bubba memories. Flavour so strong, yet so fleeting...

  • At 7/27/2013 11:27 pm, Anonymous JJ - 84thand3rd said…

    I am pretty much always excited about a bowl of veggies ;) but how fun is that salad! Paused half way through the post to tell RJ we need to go asap - great find!

  • At 7/27/2013 11:28 pm, Anonymous Jenny said…

    Hubba bubba lamington! That sounds amazing!

  • At 7/28/2013 11:37 am, Anonymous john | heneedsfood said…

    Oh that egg, that oozing egg! I think I need to get on down there!

  • At 7/28/2013 1:50 pm, Blogger Vivian - vxdollface said…

    Spectacular winter salad! What a lovely cafe with lots of knick knacks ^^ that suited up panda is too cute!

  • At 7/29/2013 9:32 pm, Anonymous Trisha said…

    WOW! Just wow! That salad looks so beautiful, and the cute panda cup is adorable! >.<

  • At 7/30/2013 2:48 pm, Blogger Lacie Lazy said…

    Your photos look awesome. We checked it out today. The cured pork is a bit too delicate for a hungry stomach. The hazel and choc moose is delicious. Brownie is above average. The teapots in knitwear are the highlight of everything. Did you notice it has a cute teapot with hand and legs made by forks? It must be a new item. But all in all, we enjoyed this local cafe. Lastly, would you mind telling me the camera body and lens you use in this series of photos? Thanks a lot.

  • At 8/22/2013 11:58 am, Blogger M-H said…

    So funny! I went to the chemist that was there for years and years. Must try the cafe now.


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