If you thought the crowd gathered around Aggy’s Corner was for a street party or event you’d be forgiven. But it’s just punters waiting for tables and others milling about after finishing up their coffees at this new northern beaches cafe.
The handsome venue is named after Sam Batten and Aniella Lane’s daughter. Batten jointly owns the corner cafe with Aniella's brother, Thom Lane. The whole operation is kept “very much in the family,” says Batten, “which I guess is what Aggy’s Corner is all about.”
The space allows each of them to demonstrate their talents. Batten, a carpenter, transformed the former general store into the welcoming community spot it is now. Thom is a barista and Aniella lent a hand with the interior design.
She’s gone with what she calls a “relaxed and minimal” look so it doesn’t date. The large windows throw masses of natural light onto the stripped-back floorboards and the blond timber furniture. The striking single-line painting was done by Amy Hunter, Thom’s girlfriend.
The menu is also pared back. Batten and Thom wanted the focus to be the coffee, with the addition of only a couple simple snacks. There isn’t even a kitchen.
Bread from nearby Berkelo is served with spreads, avocado smash or as toasties. Try the Roastie made with grilled vegetables (from either Manly or Frenchs Forest farmers’ markets), jalapeño and tequila relish, and two cheeses (Swish and tasty, and a vegan one is in the works) packed between sourdough. Alternatively, opt for one of Berkelo’s cultured-butter croissants or a muffin from Butter Boy Bakes.
Coffee is supplied by Skittle Lane on King Street in the CBD. It’s roasted on the darker side for milk-based coffees, and single origins are offered for long blacks and espresso. The current filter is from Kenya (one of Thom’s favourites).
As well as coffee and food, the trio wants Aggy’s Corner to support local producers and businesses. The venue moonlights as a retail space and at the moment you can pick up ceramics, leather dog collars and fresh flowers from White House Flowers in Manly.
Outside of trading hours the space is available for people to host courses, so look out for jewellery-soldering sessions (presented by The Fifth Lane), art classes paired with wine, and men’s mental health seminars.
94 West Street, Balgowlah
(02) 9907 6594
Tue to Fri 6am–2pm
Sat & Sun 7am–3pm
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on July 27, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.