If you had to describe Lemonia Café in one word, it would certainly be ‘zesty’. From the lemon-yellow exterior to the colourful salads and smoothies being served inside, everything about the little greek eatery is vibrant and full of life. It would be pretty impossible to leave here without a smile on your face.
Evidently the happiness is infectious as, although this café is crazy popular, they have never advertised and have relied on word of mouth alone (and great food!) to get themselves out there. The food really does speak for itself and this kind of organic custom really reflects what the café is all about.
It was a particularly sunny lunchtime when we visited the Annandale café and so we really did see it in all its glory. There’s plenty of tables and chairs scattered around the front and inside, the place is flooded with natural light to match the sun-coloured walls. Despite the lunchtime rush, the staff were friendly, attentive and the service was quick.
On the chef’s recommendation we shared a wonderfully colourful greek village salad to start and never have I seen a salad piled so high (I almost didn’t want to tear it down!). The tomatoes and cucumber were juicy and fresh and there was a perfect amount of feta and olives to accompany to veggies. While we were tackling the mountain of salad, we were brought two of Lemonia’s most popular drinks – a Green Goddess served in a mason jar and a Snickers Thickshake with peanut butter smeared on the rim.
The Goddess wasn’t one of those juices that look nice but taste like rotting cabbage (I’ve been hurt before!). The combination of kale, cucumber, apple, pineapple, celery and thyme was refreshing and I was pretty happy about all the fruit and veggie goodness it was giving me. On the other hand, the Snickers shake was unashamedly full of chocolate, peanut butter and all things bad but super tasty. It’s definitely a slow sipper or a sharing drink as otherwise you’d probably get a major sugar rush!
Our mains definitely helped to slow our drinks down. One of the owners, Dion, told us that ‘it’s not Greek food until you come home with leftovers’ and once our meals arrived, we could totally see what he meant. Served on large wooden slabs, the Paros Souva – grilled pork kebabs with pita, hand-cut chips and a corn cob and the Haloumi and Chorizo skewers served with a frittata – really were quite fantastic. The meat was cooked well, the flavours complimented one another beautifully but my, it was A LOT of food! Luckily, this means it’s authentic Greek food (yes!) and even better, they have take-away boxes at the ready so you can save the yummy leftovers for later on.
Even though the food was delicious and very filling, it wasn’t the thing that I loved the most about Lemonia. What really struck me was the atmosphere and family-feeling of the place. With the mismatched bookshelves, random assembly of gardening tools adorning the walls and the easy-going nature of the staff, it felt like you were visiting a Greek friend at home and you’d been invited inside for dinner with ALL the family. It’s this homely feeling (and that Snickers shake) that’ll see me back there again but this time I’ll make sure I go on a totally empty stomach!