“It’s not anything out of this world, it’s just good, with care in it,” Jesse Teh tells Broadsheet. He’s talking about Poppy Lane, his bright new cafe in Galston where he heads up the kitchen.

Teh has an impressive resume, having spent the previous five years at Josh Niland’s now-closed Fish Butchery in Paddington. Before that, he was in the kitchen with Peter Doyle at Merivale’s fine diner Est, and at Jonah’s, the destination diner overlooking the waves at Whale Beach.

Now, together with his wife Elise Teh and her sister Kristen Adams, he’s taking on a more casual offering.

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The idea for Poppy Lane, named for the couple’s French bulldog, is to do something recognisable – but with a fresh spin. The menu is inspired by Jesse's Chinese-Australian background, and his time in Hong Kong.

The breakfast line-up sees a (crisp-fried) bacon and egg roll jazzed up with sheep’s milk manchego, and a spicy house-made eggplant kasundi. Then there’s the avo toast, which Jesse does with a nutty sunflower pesto and chilli vinegar.

From the lunch menu, the chef calls out the crispy eggplant salad, where glistening hunks of tempura eggplant carry a topping of green papaya, herbs and peanuts tossed with chilli and lime. There’s also a generous rice bowl with greens, chilli and soy mushrooms, house-made kimchi and pickle salad, topped with an egg. (Hot tip: add the braised pork belly.)

There are ever-changing specials, too. This time of year, expect cosy plates with seasonal ingredients and nods to dishes that’ve recently inspired the chef. A recent offering was the Crispy Lady, a toastie filled with ham and a rich mornay sauce, then topped with an oozy fried egg and shavings of Canberra black truffle.

The team of three is sourcing goods hyper-locally, as many Galston locals own acreages and grow produce.

“I’ve got a nice little relationship with a couple of small growers and local famers,” Jesse says. “We work with what we’re getting around here.” That’s oranges, grapefruits, makrut lime and yuzu; some of which are dropped in by new regulars to the cafe. Local veggies are found in the seasonal salad.

As for coffee, both Jesse and Adams “go way back” with Paul Geshos, the founder of Alexandria’s Mecca Coffee. Jesse was head chef at Mecca, and Adams has known Geshos from her time working at Reuben Hills and Paramount Coffee a decade ago. So, it made sense to get his roast over the bridge.

Poppy Lane
Shop 4/346 Galston Road, Galston

Hours:
Mon to Fri 6.30am–3pm
Sat & Sun 7.30am–3pm

poppylane.au
@poppy.lane.galston