96 Glenayr Ave North Bondi, NSW 2026
|Opening hours||Fri-Sun, 8am-3pm|
|Features||Cheap Eats, Family friendly|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
Standing at the Lox in a Box pick-up window, it is difficult to stop rhyming everything Dr Seuss-style. Lox in a Box with a fox wearing socks. New socks. Two socks. Whose socks? Sue's socks. Lox in a box on fox in socks …
A tanned, smiling man in a white apron ends this rumination by handing out our order from the pick-up window at this North Bondi bagel and smoked salmon hole-in-the-wall emporium. Situated at Bondi's Seven Ways, Lox in a Box was opened in 2019 by Candy Berger of Fed Catering, and her partner Gaia Lovell.
Run from a dinky shop framed by stained-glass panels and smart concertina order and pick-up bay windows, it's a welcoming character-filled deli with a lucky golden horseshoe painted above a slender French doors entrance.
Inside, behind a counter where orders are freshly made, shelves are stacked with the dapper Lox in a Box pizza-style cardboard boxes featuring a cute winking and saluting salmon (not in socks). They're for Lox in a Box's seven-day delivery bagel service, catering for groups, and delivering across Sydney. The service has a six-bagel minimum order and pre-made or build-your-own options.
We've fronted up in person for three bagels – the hot salt beef bagel (with corned beef, dill pickles and yellow mustard), the classic lox bagel (salmon, herb schmear, sliced tomato, capers and onions) and the Bubba (a bagel with cream cheese and salmon, for kids). A vegetarian bagel is also available.
The smiling man suggests adding a babka scroll, a sweet yeast bread that resembles a cinnamon scroll, and a filter coffee using Reuben Hills beans.
On a warm Sunday in this sprawling beach suburb, things are hectically low-key. Construction work narrows the footpath, temporarily fencing off benches shaded by a paperbark tree where people usually sit to eat their coriander seed, peppercorn and yellow mustard-cured lox bagels, each served in little white baskets with dill pickles and salty crisps.
Around the corner, footpaths jammed with glossy cars parked over driveways and grass verges frame lolling backpackers in bikinis leaning on front-steps shielding their international FaceTime calls from the sun. Peeling 1930s apartment blocks are ringed by surfboards, straggling dandelions and beer cartons.
Dog-walkers squeeze by, their pooches sniffing the bag of fish and beef we're carrying. Perched on a wall we eat the melty, schmeared (house-whipped cream cheese with dill, lemon and shallots) lox bagel. It is heavenly. Sourced from New Zealand, cured and smoked in Rozelle, the lox's speedy four-day preparation process explains its buoyant freshness and taste.
The star, however, is the grass-fed salt beef, also made in-house via a 10-hour slow cook with herbs and spices, inspired by Berger's grandmother's recipe.
The Bubba is declared "big" by its owner and we both devour the salty crisps, long and slender pickles and the sweet babka cake. The only letdown is the filter coffee, good but not worth $4.
Happy and licking schmear from our lips, Lox in a Box is a winner. Fox in socks holding clocks hearing knocks says lox in a box is tops.
Main attractions: Fast, fresh, lip-smacking smoked salmon or salt beef served in perfectly chewy bagels from a handsome, retro street-side deli.
Must-try dish: The hot salt beef bagel with dill pickles and mustard is a tender meat dream.
Insta-worthy dish: The classic lox bagel, snugly paper-wrapped and cut in half revealing glowing pinky-orange salmon stripes topped with fat, schmear-covered capers.
Drinks: Reuben Hills filter coffee, $4; kombucha, $4; Simon Says Juices, $8.50; Minor Figures Nitro Cold Brew, $4; sparkling water, $3; Arnold Palmer, $6; iced chai, $6.