It’s a relief that these days trendy cafes are no longer confined to Surry Hills and Darlinghurst etc. and that the thriving coffee culture in Sydney has spread to neighbourhoods such as Marrickville which is home to Cornersmith. As its name might suggest, this popular cafe is literally on the corner of the main strip in the suburb. I have never actually been to Marrickville before, but luckily we have a friend who is a local and ready to show us what it has to offer for brunch dining.
We put our names down in chalk on the blackboard and our party of 4 has to wait around 15 minutes for a table to free up after arriving at 11.30am. When we get inside, we see that the decor is fashionable vintage chic all throughout the restaurant and they even have some of their fresh produce (such as their signature pickles and jams) on the shelves for sale. They do love their blackboards here with the menus and the origins of their produce neatly chalked up on the boards fitted high above the counter. It’s quite a lot of information to take in, but it’s clear that Cornersmith values fresh ingredients (backyard fresh in some cases!) and know that their patrons like to see where it all comes from too.
We get our coffees first and our friend spots that they use a Mecca Espresso blend of beans from the bag on the counter. My mocha was lovely, with the chocolatey goodness in it mellowing out the stronger flavours of the coffee itself. My friend got a soy cappuccino and found that the blend was smooth and light on the palate, but despite it being quite easy to drink she needed a second one as it was a bit weak for her.
Coffees, around $4 each
It’s hard to pin down just one thing to try from Cornersmith’s menu, but between the 4 of us we covered the majority of the things we wanted. My chosen dish was a Poached Egg Roll which was served on a retro looking plate and came with pasture raised ham, plenty of shredded cabbage and pickles. It was quite a lot of ingredients for one little roll and I struggled to cut it up into manageable portions to eat gracefully. The poached eggs had been done well so that the runny yolk oozed out when I sliced it up, and there was enough flavour from the winning combo of onion relish, aioli and honey mustard dressing.
Poached Egg Roll, $12
The boy had opted for the Soft Poached Farmer Brown Eggs with white sourdough toast, eggplant and chilli chutney and a side of pasture raised ham as well. The elements of his dish were quite similar to mine in a way, but I found that their sensational chutney elevated it to a whole different level of tastiness and probably should have ordered this dish for myself as it was much easier to eat!
Soft Poached Farmer Brown Eggs, $9 with side of Pasture Raised Ham $5
My friend has chosen the hearty sounding Ploughman’s Plate and describes it as a specialty plate that comes with a colour scheme of its own, looking like a cross between a cheese & fruit board and breakfast. There’s the usual slice of sourdough toast which comes without butter (fear not butter lovers, the butter is merely placed on the side) and the rest of the plate features a serving of ham, apples and cheese. To add more flavour to these elements, the Ploughman’s Plate matches them with side condiments like refreshingly crunchy radish and some salty, sour pickled beans.
Ploughman’s Plate, $18
My other friend has ordered the signature Cornersmith Plate which she describes as being as colourful on the plate as it is on the palate. With the potential to pack a multitude of flavours to represent Cornersmith, the dish comes with a smoked trout kedgree, a sesame seed covered boiled egg, a salad, sumac yoghurt and pickles. The smoked trout kedgree was a little bland upon first bite, but the flavour strengthened when eaten with the chilli garnish on top. Sour by itself, the sumac yoghurt works best when eaten in conjunction with the salad and the sesame encrusted boiled egg.
Cornersmith Plate, $18
While on the outside Cornersmith may look like a typical hipster cafe, once you step inside you’ll see that they work hard to maintain an earthy, organic aesthetic which acknowledges where the food is sourced from. They do the fresh produce justice by serving it up in delicious combinations.
With thanks to our friend Lea Nguyen for her tasty descriptions of the Ploughman’s and Cornersmith Plates.
314 Illawarra Road, Marrickville NSW 2204
Phone: (02) 8065 0844