“It’s a health-conscious cafe,” says Back and Forth’s co-owner, Alex Savidis. A quick flick through the menu reveals a burger with two beef patties, special sauce, American cheese, pickles and mustard all between a Brasserie milk bun. Not exactly diet-conscious food, and neither is the four-deep stack of thick pecan pancakes swimming in peanut-butter gelato.

“We have a few cheat options, you might say,” Savidis concedes. He also runs nearby Ritual Coffee Traders with Sam Gibson. The pancakes are joined on the breakfast menu by a nut-and-seed-based gluten-free bread sold by the loaf, or served with tomato, goat’s cheese and avocado. There’s also a new take on Ritual Coffee Traders’ acai bowl. Rather than the common blended smoothie-style acai, they've made a gelato and placed it on a stack of granola, blueberries, figs and dried strawberries.

“We want to serve stuff you can eat every day and not feel bad about,” Savidis says. "Because of our other cafe, that's the road we're going down.” The two cafes share a similar vision for specialty coffee (from Gabriel Coffee) and a similarly clean but industrial fit-out. But Back & Forth beats its Northbridge cousin in scope and size.

“Our other places have been very coffee-orientated,” says Savidis. "Opening this and having such a big kitchen is something new for us.” It means Savidis and chef Ben Pichon (ex-Hemingway’s) can experiment more.

Back to the burger; it is a bigger, less-sloppy version of the deluxe American-style burger that has become the norm in Sydney. “We did a lot of research. In about a month we ate about 30 burgers,” Savidis says with a chuckle. If it’s not your cheat day, it’s best to go with Pichon’s som tum-inspired green papaya salad with poached chicken.

Back & Forth
Shop 20–22/100 Edinburgh Road, Castlecrag

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