Oh Marrickville, how you've changed. Before Cornersmith, this corner premises used to host an old sewing shop. As a kid I'd walk past the big glass windows that gave a view into dusty shelves packed with sewing machine thread. You could barely see past the giant spools of cotton in black, maroon and white, but they never seemed to budge no matter how many times I walked past.
Today the site has been renovated into a bright and buzzing cafe that wouldn't look out of place in Surry Hills or Waterloo. White walls, counter stools and a considered approach to furnishings create a cosy urban cottage feel.
By 9am on a Sunday, there's already a queue. A clipboard by the front door allows people to write down their party name and number which is then managed by a staff member who reallocates newly empty tables.
Cake display cabinet including flourless Chinese five spice and chocolate cake,
gluten-free almond and coconut cake, and quince and apple muffins
Ordering is via the giant blackboard menu, perched high on the wall above the coffee machine. Drinks run down the left column -- including an intriguing quince, pear and clove milkshake -- followed by breakfast and lunch options. In the middle is a list of "produce in this week", a roll call of ingredients and their source, like NSW Country Valley dairy milk, Clarendon Farm free range eggs and "persimmons from Libby and Gabby".
Choko, prune and pepperberry chutney
Backyard produce from the local community is actively sought in-store and via the Cornersmith Facebook page - gardens overladen with chokos, cumquats and mandarins are relieved of their excess bounty where it is then industriously pickled, preserved and bottled by staff. On Mondays the cafe is "closed for pickling"with wares then available for sale to customers.
Flat white $3.50 and Cornersmith chai $4.50
We start with drinks. The coffee -- by Mecca -- has the robustness you want on an early morning weekend and the chai is headily aromatic, made with real spices in a special house blend.
Poached eggs with choko chutney $9
with frisee, pear, radish, fetta and almond salad $4
Garlic mushrooms and vegetables with rocket and pecorino on rye ($10) is the kind of chirpy breakfast even a carnivore would love. Two thick slices of Brasserie Bread rye bread are piled high with baby mushrooms sauteed generously in butter and garlic. Thin strips of red cabbage create crunch, shaved pecorino add richness and sprigs of mint add zing.
Poached eggs start at $9 for two, with add-ons each costing $4. We end up choosing the frisee and almond salad, sweet and soothing with chunks of pear, whispers of radish and generous blobs of creamy fetta.
The eggs come with a petite dish of choko chutney, this humble backyard gourd amped up the max with onion, vinegar and a heavy hand of spices.
Homemade pumpkin and pear loaf with ricotta, honey and seeds $7
We finish with a doorstop of pumpkin and pear loaf, even more impressive dressed up with ricotta, a drizzle of honey and glistening ruby red pomegranate seeds. Pumpkin seeds and flaked almonds add a delicate crunch against the smooth ricotta.
Breakfast menu (changes monthly)
Lunch and sandwich menu (changes monthly)
Urban beehive honey $10 for 300 grams
On the rooftop is an Urban Beehive, part of a growing movement to help bees and pollination across Sydney. The scheme uses wild bees to popular hives and the resulting honey is strained and bottled for sale. The absence of high temperature pasteurisation allows more distinct flavours to come through.
The honey is thick and syrupy, with an intensity unlike commercial honeys. The current batch comes from flora in Ashfield - it's by locals for locals. Who knew the inner west could taste so sweet?
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314 Illawarra Road, Marrickville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8065 0844
Tuesday to Friday 6.30am-3pm
Saturday and Sunday 8am-3pm
Closed on Monday for pickling
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5/22/2012 01:11:00 a.m.