When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Last Thursday I did just that and visited Cornersmith, a little cafe on a corner in the inner-west suburb of Sydney, known as Marrickville. Just fifteen minutes drive from the CBD or about a fifty minute drive from Sydney's Northern beaches, at age forty six, it was my first time to Marrickville.
Why you may ask, since it is not exactly local to my neighbourhood, did I bother?
It was the many reports of the Cornersmith seasonal menu, flavoursome food combinations, and homemade pickles that drew me in. I'd also heard about their ongoing relationships with the surrounding community of local growers and neighbours. They come from near and far, to trade produce from their own backyards, to be featured on the cafe menu or used in The Picklery, in exchange for a coffee or jar of pickles or relish to take home.
Genius, I thought!
I had been meaning to get out their for some months, and then when I read they had been awarded Best Sydney Cafe in the SMH Good Food Cafe Awards, I was catapulted into action, to visit and see for myself. Although I'd read reviews of long queues and having to wait up to half an hour for a table, particularly on the weekends, our mid week Thursday lunch visit was timed well, arriving at 1pm we scored the last table for two by the door.
We were warmly greeted as we sat on timber chairs reminiscent of my school days and invited to choose from the blackboard menu, high on the wall above the service area. Cornersmith is open for breakfast and lunch seven days, from 6.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday and 7.30am to 3pm Saturday and Sunday. The menu here consists of a selection of morning toast, sweet baked goods, bowls of slow cooked goodness, egg and side dishes, lunch plates, including a Ploughman's Plate and a Cornersmith Plate, as well as a selection of sandwiches, but not in the traditional sense of the word. The menu changes almost daily, depending on what is in season and what produce arrives at their door. If you are looking for a bounty of choice and your usual cafe favourites, then this is probably not the place for you. The food here is thoughtful and flavoursome, and you are best to trust that they know what they are doing and choose daringly, perhaps a dish you've not tried before.
We asked for some assistance in explaining how the menu worked, the lovely guy looking after us willingly answered our questions and guided us to what was on offer for lunch that day. We started with a Cold Pressed Granny Smith apple juice and ordered Sandwich No 2;
Apple Kale Salad, Cumin Aioli, with Onion Relish on Flat Bread $11 adding Braised Lamb Shoulder $16
It was incredibly fresh and delicious, the lamb cooked until falling apart married well with the Apple Kale Salad, aioli and relish. A simple, no fuss affair, ensuring the food remained the hero, which is of course my kind of food. We followed up with a warm and comforting pudding to share, full of wholesome goodness; Spiced Brown Rice and Quinoa Pudding with Rhubarb and Pomegranate with almond crumble $10
Lunch was definitely worth the drive and if I find myself in Marrickville again someday, it would not take any convincing for me to eat here again and again. Although I would not be expecting more of the same, as part of the joy of eating in season with such creativity, means the menu will always be changing. Cornersmith also offers workshops in Cheese Making, Bread Making and Pickling and Preserving at their other premises The Picklery just up the road.