Steps away from Sydney University, In The Annex is the welcome newcomer to Forest Lodge’s vibrant Ross Street. With seating lingering on the footpath, this cafe dazzles among its neighbours with copper brown signage.
“There was [nowhere] we wanted to go to around the area and [Forest Lodge] was a zone that we thought we could fill,” says Edrick Santos who co-founded In The Annex with friends Theo Hlorotiris and Joey Astorga (formerly head chef at the now closed El Capo in Surry Hills). “The original idea behind it (and the name) was to create an extension of people’s work and life, a place to go to and call safe.”
A life-sized mural of an abseiler scaling down a building and hanging plants decorate the walls nearby. A preserved tree trunk with assorted cushions transforms into bench seating while the communal table via the stairs is better suited for larger clusters. Tables are decorated with mini cacti planted in piccolo cups, while a feature wall dedicated to pre-loved teapots is spotted nearby.
“It started about a year ago when Theo and I were travelling,” says Santos on the vision and influences of the design. “The cafes and bars in San Francisco and New York felt inviting and had something more to offer. We wanted to bring this to Sydney.”
The seasonal menu here is simple but well executed. Classics like the bacon and egg roll shine with the housemade capsicum and chilli aioli while the breakfast burrito arrives in foil filled with scrambled eggs, beans, rice, guacamole and jalapenos for some mild heat. Vegetarians are not forgotten with a kale and egg roll or the option to add Brussels sprouts to eggs on toast. The glass cabinet displays house-cured sustainable meats and seafood such as peppered duck breast, grass-fed beef and smoked rainbow trout and rolls with invigorating fillings such as watermelon radish with pickles and brie.
Cold drinks are worth a mention with a wide selection on offer: grapefruit, ginger, tonic and organic Kangaroo Island honey to tomato, celery, chilli and lime, all served in recycled bottles.
In The Annex
35 Ross Street, Forest Lodge
Sat - Sun 7am-4pm