Marlowe's Way is a little foodie haven tucked away from the dreary, 7-Eleven-dominated CBD precinct between George Street and Pitt Street. Nestled into the side of a wall on Tank Stream Way, it's a place you're unlikely to find unless someone's recommended it to you, which is what I'm doing right now.
It's a small joint, inviting and warm, with a hand-painted mural along one wall and a rotation of local artworks hanging opposite. A chilled selection of cafe soul music crackles from a vinyl player and the terracotta-tiled bar and glass display cabinet plays host to a selection of gourmet sandwiches, salads, and tasty treats (including fresh stuffed doughnuts, cookies, and croissants) from William Leonard in Paddington.
The owners take their coffee seriously here and have developed a signature blend, roasted by Little Marionette, cheekily dubbed Bankistan in reference to the number of banks surrounding the cafe. They also serve up a rotating single origin, and today's is from Sidamo in Ethiopia, known for its deep chocolaty aroma and spicy flavour.
A hand-scrawled menu, which also changes daily, features a considered selection of home-style Italian fare. Today it's Rigatoni con Tonno with tuna, basil, and sugo ($12) or Beef Fillet Pot Roasted in Herbs and Red Wine with mayo, provolone, rocket, and tomato ($12.50). They also do soups and salads ($10-12.50). The Roast Veggie Salad with baby beets, heirloom carrots, parsnips, mini zucchini, rocket, fetta, and roasted almonds is heartwarming: smoldering and crunchy in all the right places.
Paninis start at $6.50, and whether it's the Smoked Chicken and Italian Chilli Jam with Mozzarella and English Spinach, the Double Smoked Ham with Artichoke Pate or the Pork and Fennel Sausage Panini with Oregano, Cabbage and Tomato Relish, the ingredients are fresh and carefully prepared, so it’s hard to put a foot (or mouthful) wrong.
This is the perfect place for a solo lunch expedition or a midweek morning coffee date. The staff are super-friendly, keen to learn your name and explain their menu, which makes for a winning combination of classic cuisine with a community vibe and contemporary culinary craftsmanship on constant rotation to keep you coming back.
Images by Lindsay Smith.