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Sydney Morning Herald

Homestyle Greek: Spanakopita with silverbeet, spinach and soft feta

Photo: Brianne Makin

Sydney Morning Herald
May 03, 2013

Georgia Waters

Phone:02 9552 2425 Address:4-8 Booth Street, Annandale, NSW
Website:www.lemoniacafe.com.au/ Cuisine:Mediterranean, Greek Price Range:Moderate - (mains $15 - $30) Rating:Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

When brothers Garry and Dion Rodakis decided to open their first cafe, they looked to their Greek grandmother, Lemonia.

It is thanks to the influence of their ''yiayia'' that Annandale is now home to this cheerful spot in a repurposed two-bedroom cottage with a bright-yellow frontage.

The cafe opened on Booth Street in January. Out the front is a window through which coffee is served, and where locals and their dogs mill between the pot plants, picking up a pastry and latte to go. Inside are shelves of old books, tin chairs, tables of beaten-up wood and tarnished silver teapots bursting with flowers.

Homestyle Greek: Spanakopita with silverbeet, spinach and soft feta. Photo: Brianne Makin
The menu is a gift to the late breakfasters, the early lunchers and the ''I-want-poached-eggs-at-3pm'' crowd: an all-day brunch, ranging from fruit and yoghurt to beef stew with kritharaki, the Greek pasta also known as orzo, served from 7am until 5pm. Our group arrives on a grey, dreary late Saturday morning and are cheerfully welcomed. Service is excellent, with a genuine spirit of hospitality.

Lemonia's menu is mostly Mediterranean, with better-than-usual options for vegetarians, mixed with familiar breakfast dishes: pancakes, french toast and omelets, alongside spanakopita and loukaniko, the Greek sausage.

There's even a nod to Canada with a four-cheese-and-pancetta version of poutine. Autumnal dishes such as beetroot risotto point to a menu that changes with the seasons.

With some of our group looking for breakfast and some ready for lunch, we order from all over the menu. Everything arrives on mismatched plates (sourced not from a local second-hand shop but directly from Lemonia's garage). A fluffy plate-size omelet is studded with small, salty kalamata olives and roasted capsicum, with slivers of proscuitto and basil. Another dish of eggs called saganaki - named for the Greek pan it's cooked in - is much like the Israeli dish shakshuka of eggs poached in a tomato stew. The eggs are soft-yolked, but there's too much tomato juice in the stew. The soft white bread it's served with is unfashionable in these days of artisan-spelt-sourdough but is perfect for dipping into the eggy-tomato juices.

French toast made with raisin and fig bread comes with or without ice-cream and jam. We've ordered it without and it's good - golden and light in its cinnamon batter - but it needs the jam to stop it from being dry.

Among the more substantial dishes is a hearty salad of chickpeas with daubs of sweet, tart goat's cheese, baby spinach and grilled eggplant with a rosemary dressing. A sandwich of grilled chicken breast is touted as peri peri, and while it's very good, with its chilli-onion jam, proscuitto and crunchy bibb lettuce, the paprika aioli is distinctly garlic-free and the chicken well-grilled and tender but without Portuguese spice. The poutine - while somewhat removed from the Canadian original with gravy and the raw curd cheese that's illegal in Australia - is fantastic, a bowl of thick-cut fries under a blanket of cheese and crunchy pancetta.

Our round of lattes and macchiatos are also excellent, the coffee smooth and rich.

There are those of us with Greek grandmothers and those of us without. And for those without, there's Lemonia.


Homestyle Greek and brunch.

Recommended dishes

Aegean omelet, chickpea salad, Greek coffee frappe.


3 (out of 5 stars)

more details

Phone:02 9552 2425 Address:4-8 Booth Street, Annandale, NSW.


Cuisine:Mediterranean, Greek Prices: Lighter dishes, $8.50 to $18.50; larger dishes, $14 to $21.90. Hours: Mon-Sat, 7am-5pm (coffee from 6.30am); Sun, 8am-5pm (coffee from 7.30am)

Chef(s): Harry Kalofonos Owner(s): Garry Rodakis, Dion Rodakis Features: Vegetarian friendly

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