Pork belly for breakfast? How could I refuse?
We had plans to explore the recent spate of new cafes to open in Marrickville, a growing army of caffeine warriors now jostling for space among the pho noodle houses and Asian grocery stores. It feels more like Surry Hills than Marrickville Mauler territory these days, and Beejay's is one of the newest kids on the block.
At nineteen years old, local lad BJ (Benjamin Terkalas) is also one of the youngest cafe owners, converting a former Thai restaurant into an eclectic space that marries old LP records with hessian coffee sacks and revamped chairs plastered with strips of old newspaper.
Cameras and coffee sacks
It's worth looking up toward the ceiling to notice the quirkier details, like the row of old and new cameras lining one wall, and a trail of vintage toy cars on the other.
I'm enamoured by the procession of old cassette tapes that run along the brickwork, a mishmash of Greek artists mixed in with 1980s classics.
Out the back is a courtyard for soaking up the sun but we take the indoor table by the LP records.
Caramelised goats cheese, pickled beetroot, walnuts and roast peppers $12
The breakfast menu is short and sweet, but there's still plenty to muse over. Angie picks the caramelised goats cheese toast, torched under the grill until golden brown in patches. It provides a creamy foil against the bitter crunch of walnuts, sweet roasted red capsicum and earthiness of pickled fresh beetroot.
The bread comes from Sonoma, with most menu items offering a choice between sourdough, soy and linseed or Turkish bread. Alternative toppings include avocado and lemon salt ($6.50), ricotta with honey and banana ($7) or a classic bacon and egg roll ($7.90).
Flat white and cappuccino
Beejay's Breakfast $16
Two free range eggs on sourdough, crisp pork belly, avocado, hash brown and baby mushrooms
There's a steady stream of customers through the door, and I'm curious to see how it will operate as a wine bar once the liquor licence comes through. We're not really tempted by the desserts in the display counter (even though the homemade mango muffins seem to be a hit with customers) and instead head across the road to another newbie cafe Vesbar Espresso.
You'll find Vesbar Espresso on the former site of the old barbershop, on the street that used to lead to the Marrickville Council pool (spot the childhood local). Outside is a litter of milk crates, wooden chairs and stools, all perched higgledy piggledy on the sloping footpath.
The cafe is compact but cosy, with a row of stools covered in old hessian coffee sacks. We decide to sit outside, where a friendly but efficient staff member quickly takes our order.
Freddo espresso $6
For owner Aki Daikos, Vesbar is his third cafe after Bay Espresso in Brighton Le Sands and Eastern Grind in Bondi Junction. The menu has an emphasis on simple Italian fare, more noticeable in the lunch menu which includes arancini, antipasto, bruschetta, pasta, a daily soup and a range of salads like the Italian mix beans with pecorino and San Daniele prosciutto.
The breakfast menu lists tempting paninis, organic five grain porridge and the Vesbar Mediterranean breakfast, a rustic board of poached eggs, fresh tomatoes, Persian feta, olives and cucumber with organic olive bread. The bread is by Brasserie Bread and coffee is from Campos.
Ricotta zuccherati $4
The pastries come from A&P Sulfaro Pasticceria Italiana in Haberfield, and I'm mesmerised by the array of sugar crusted donuts lined up behind the glass cabinet. The Nutella donut is already sold out.
We end up sharing the ricotta zuccherati, the light airy donut piped with a filling of fluffy ricotta cream. It's a sweet counterpart to my freddo espresso - one of the house specialties - a strong cold coffee served on ice.
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1 Warburton Street, Marrickville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9558 2642
Monday to Friday 6am-5.30pm
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395 Illawarra Road, Marrickville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9558 8860
Monday to Friday 5am-5pm
Saturday and Sunday 6.30am-5pm
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7/23/2012 02:03:00 a.m.