If there’s one thing that’s soooo Sydney right now it’s the inner west. A short uber/bus/train or even walk from central station, you’ll find a heap of great local finds and tasty treats. Annandale lays claim to many, with its pretty cottages and towering three storey terraces; walk north and you’ll end up at the Glebe foreshore, and in the other direction at the crush of Parramatta Road.
But with fashion forward shops, heart-stopping Burgers by Josh and even a place to buy plants for that garden you’re going to try really hard not to kill this year—Annandale has everything you could need, so why would you ever consider leaving?
Trafalgar Street Espresso
Tucked away on a quiet side street, Trafalgar Street Espresso by The Little Marionette is a lot of amazing in one small package. Quiches are baked golden, abundant chunks of avocado practically tumble off chewy sourdough, and the coffee suits both folks looking for a hangover save and total coffee nerds alike. Trafalgar Street even has a rotating bookshelf that hides a second seating area, perfect for a coffee date or a Scooby Doo mystery re-enactment. If this spot is too packed, try their other locale, Garcon, at the Tramsheds.
When the queues at the Marrickville Cornersmith are too long, and we just can’t live another moment without their sourdough piled with seasonal produce and the nicest pickles around, now we can just jet over to Annandale. This Cornersmith on View Street is strictly vegetarian—every lovely fresh dish is accompanied with a poached egg. Fancy your brunch al fresco? Take your pastry and blood orange cordial across the road and have it in the park.
It took three years of council approvals, construction and old fashion elbow grease to get this late 1800s building into shape. The décor is a nod to the building’s Victorian past; with ornate woodcarvings holding up the marble countertop and gorgeous pastries on shining glass cake stands. Graffiti tags on the back wall remind us what century we’re in, as does the house made spiced chai, as well as their thick dark hot chocolate and a food offering that was born to be Instagrammed. Buttered Arabian eggs with yogurt, mint and pomegranate is a spicy departure from the usual brekky fare, and the brioche French toast has all the toppings: vanilla poached pears, roasted hazelnuts, espresso mascarpone and Nutella.
The kind of greek your yiayia would be proud of is exactly what's on the menu at this Annandale cafe. A popular spot for brunch, thanks to their sunny front verandah, and a regular go-to for dinner, this family run venue will keep your belly satisfied. For brunch we can't go past the Barcelona breaky with cherry tomato salsa, rocket, poached egg, avocado and of course, sourdough (is there any other bread?!).
The team here are going for a Greenwich Village vibe circa 1960. House in what was once an old furniture store, this is a popular local go-to for a cup on joe en route to the dog park. The space is airy and filled with natural light, making it just the spot for an all day brunch. Their baristas take their coffee as seriously as we do, and they know how to make a mean cup of Campos brew.
These guys do coffee well, meaning whatever your flavour they've got it #sorted. Cold trip, chai frappe, or an almond milk latte, done. The greatest thing about these guys though is their jaffle menu. Yep, an entire menu dedicated to jaffles AND it changes on the weekly. How's that for choice?
Booth Street Bistro
A modern Australian take on European bistro dining, Booth Street Bistro is at once a bit fancy but also totally approachable. Start with plump, creamy oysters followed by confit Tasmania salmon with pickled cucumber hearts, and then a gorgeous corn-fed roast chicken. Save room for cheese though. The current selection comes from France and the UK: some are delectably stinky, some are subtle and creamy—all are to die for.
Drink (And Eat Some More)
Once home to the loud AF (we sound old), hippest underground music scene, the Annandale now has Josh Arthurs of Burgers by Josh in the kitchen, and booze spiked milkshakes behind the bar. It’s best to come to the Annandale with an empty stomach, because Arthurs doesn’t do small. The Primo Burger has double Wagyu patties, double American cheese, crispy bacon, jalapenos and battered onion rings served on a fluffy bun. Even the sides are enormous—the Jurassic Fries are double fried and covered in liquid cheese and Primo Sauce.
You wouldn’t expect to find a garden oasis on a noisy corner of Parramatta Road, but that’s what you’ll find at the Empire. The interiors are elegant with plenty of greenery, plushy Persian rugs and vintage seating.
The Empire does divine champagne high teas with colourful pastel macarons and adorable tea sandwiches, along with a substantial bistro menu of burgers and pub classics like steak pie. Craft beer and ciders are on tap, and the cocktail menu star is a killer Bloody Mary, which is everything we need in life.
Jim & Jane
We’ve been fans of Jim & Jane since forever. With suede and pony hair white leather kicks from Department of Finery, and peasant chic maxis and minis from Stevie May Byron Bay, owner Amber Barnes and her crew of hella stylish staff will have you leading the fashion zeitgeist. Word to the wise: get on the not-so-secret mailing list. Jim & Jane has killer sales, sometimes with champagne. Because that chunky cocktail ring by Love Fairley you’ve had your eye on looks even more fabulous with a flute of bubbly in your hand.
The Corner Booth
A few blocks away you’ll find The Corner Booth. Once a beautiful store just for wee people, The Corner Booth has blossomed, adding home wares, jewellery and furniture to its offering. Get a pair of mini rose gold Saltwater sandals for your niece, and a shaggy, grey and white flecked Icelandic sheepskin from Society of Wanderers for yourself.
Annandale has the fine arts of shopping, eating and drinking covered, and it can also give you your art fix. Located in a converted Masonic Hall, Annandale Galleries has a steady rotation of Indigenous, Australian and international contemporary artists. The gallery represents artists like Zadok Ben-David, whose most recent collection of sculptures made from acrylic on hand-cut aluminium captures the movement of people going about lives so perfectly everyday, they could be in Annandale.
Casa Barilla Cooking School
Learn how to cook like a real Italian at one of Casa Barilla's cooking classes. Choose between hands on (if you like to get on in there) or masterclasses (if you prefer someone else do the work). All classes start with a glass of prosecco (we're listening) and finish with you eating an Italian feast that you either made, or ahem, supervised.
Now that you're loving the inner west, you should totally check out Petersham.
Image credit: Claudia Shmueli at Cornersmith