Marrickville’s hottest new café is also a preserve production house
On the corner of busy Illawarra Road, in the heart of Marrickville, lies Cornersmith.
Co-owner Alex Elliott-Howery is in the kitchen busily turning out home-style old school favourites, meatloaf you’ll want to eat, and scotch eggs among them.
Alex is committed to local food, and the menu employs produce raised largely within the Sydney-basin, and if she can’t find it close by, she seeks out the most sustainable alternative. Esk River free-range pork, locally made ricotta, grass-fed beef from Richmond, every product that graces the menu has been thoughtfully sourced.
When she, and chef Mirra Whale, are not turning out breakfasts, including poached eggs with onion relish and a side of sesame green beans or a slice of apricot, currant and almond loaf with ricotta and bush honey from western Sydney (the bee hives on Cornersmith’s roof are yet to produce honey, but they will), they are baking cakes and pastries for the groaning counter display – a passionfruit curd and apricot tart, or a gluten-free citrus syrup cake among them.
On Monday’s Alex is by the stove with her jam pan. White nectarines spiced with cardamom are bubbling away on one burner, rhubarb ‘ketchup’ on another. Her business partner in the preserves business, Jaimee Edwards, is busy bottling bread and butter pickles and beetroot relish, condiments used across the lunch menu, and also stocked on the shelves for patrons keen to replicate Cornersmith magic at home.
Co-owner James Grant is behind the bar. A coffee obsessive James has worked in some of Sydney’s busiest cafes and his accomplished brews, made using Mecca Espresso’s beans, arrive in lightening speed. Plenty of pots of Tea Craft tea are delivered to tables, along with organic ginger beer and kid’s milkshakes made with real fruit.
Designed by Smith & Carmody, the space, once a thread shop, was a labour of love for local tradesmen and women. The interior, from the handcrafted bar, to the handmade furniture and retail shelving are bespoke, made by friends with a similar commitment to doing things the old fashioned way.
Where: 314 Illawarra Road, Marrickville
When: Tues –Fri 6.30am-3pm | Sat & Sun 8am –3pm
Phone: (02) 8065 0844