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This Marrickville cafe feels a little French and a little like you’re sitting in a large kitchen of an old Australian home.

I’m more than thankful for the plethora of cafe options in Surry Hills but sometimes too much choice can be exhausting. So when I found out that Cornersmith is in Marrickville, a lovely area that doesn’t have too many jazzy cafes, I had high hopes.

Originally a thread shop, the space is beautifully pared back, with a stark, tiled wall, a mustard ceiling and nary a vintage poster or knickknack in site. It feels a little French and a little like you’re sitting in a large kitchen of an old Australian home. A blackboard displays the simple menu, including a list of what fresh produce they have in that week. The menu revolves around these ingredients, which the co-owners, James and Alex, gather locally as much as possible – Marrickville residents who grow vegetables trade their excess for a jar of home-made jam or relish.

Thankfully, Cornersmith have steered clear of the standards. There are no BLTs or nicoise salads on this menu. Instead you’ll find items like Pear, Beetroot and Almond Loaf with Baked Ricotta and Bush Honey for breakfast, or Bircher Muesli.

For lunch, they have a range of rolls and two tasting plates. The Poached Egg, Onion Jam, Ham and Rocket Roll ($9) came out on two slices of rye as they had run of rolls, but the contents were so tasty it could have been served on crackers and it would still be good. The yolk was deep yellow and perfectly gooey, the ham was the thick-cut kind you usually only get at Christmas, combining perfectly with the slightly sweet jam. The Herbed, Baked Ricotta, Olive, Tomato and Basil Sandwich ($9) was crisped to perfection and although slightly too sweet, was full of flavour. The Cornersmith Tasting Plate ($16 for single serve, $25 for double) came with two slices of rye toast, sardines, citrus labne, baked tomato, rocket and sesame beans. The combination was excellent and each plate came with a mini pear for a sweet finish.

Each dish is artfully prepared and presented by people who obviously have a love affair with good food. Everything is made from scratch (they even have their own beehive), the service is super friendly, the coffee is great. All in all, this is exactly what Marrickville (and Sydney) needs. The only fault is that the prices were ever so slightly steep for the area and the size of the portions, but this definitely wouldn’t stop me from returning.

Keep an eye on this one,  they are applying for a liquor license and will be serving beer and wine (excellent local varieties I imagine) with tasting plates a few nights a week in the next couple of months.

Published on January 18, 2012 by Georgia Booth

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