Cosy: Cornersmith cafe in Marrickville. Photo: Edwina Pickles
There are three things I want when dealing with children's sport: no rain, no injuries and a good coffee afterwards.
It's an icy Saturday and it's bucketing down, I'm wearing Gore-Tex and gumboots, so it's not going to be a three-out-of-three sort of day.
Fortunately, the ball Archie marks with his head, brilliantly blocking an opposition goal, gives him a fright rather than concussion. No major injury there.
Recommended: house-made ricotta and quince on sourdough. Photo: Edwina Pickles
The under-eights are playing in Marrickville, so I hatch a plan. Retreating from the field, we squelch into this homely cafe, wedged into a corner at one end of Marrickville's eclectic shopping axis. Archie's changed out of his sodden kit, but Lulu and I are still in our gumboots. We're greeted warmly, settle into one of the small tables, and check out the blackboard menu.
The kids go for Archerfield eggs, perfectly poached (the only option) with runny, deep-amber yolks, served with Brickfields sourdough and a delicious house-made pumpkin chutney. The hungry footballer requests an extra protein hit of seriously good house-made beef and pork salami. Other creative ''sides'' include chunks of roasted pumpkin in a sesame, lemon myrtle and wattleseed crust, and beetroot with buckwheat and horseradish labneh.
Sustainability is the driving force of this neighbourly cafe. Much of what is served here is made from scratch on site or by the Cornersmith ''family'', including the ricotta, made by Kristen Allan (who runs regular cheesemaking classes here) and the honey, which comes from beehives on the roof. The ricotta is slathered over toasted sourdough, topped with slices of rosy quinces poached low and slow, sprinkled with hazelnuts, pepitas and sunflower seeds, and drizzled with the rooftop honey. Divine.
The homely feeling extends to the jars of pickles and jellies occupying every flat surface, and shelves of cordials and jams you can take home.
There's a real food-community feeling in this place - the blackboard names locals who grow and supply ingredients (which they might swap for a coffee or a jar of pickles), as well as things the chefs are on the lookout for.
The breakfast and lunch menu, available all day, includes a couple of sandwiches, a ploughman's, and the Cornersmith plate. Pickled sardines are the stars of the latter, teamed with dill pickles, a dollop of rich Pepe Saya creme fraiche and a jumble of brussels sprout slaw with a sharp verjuice dressing that cuts nicely through the oily fish.
Archie loves his quince and apple milkshake, served in a cute little bottle, while Lulu likes her tangy pink grapefruit cordial so much she decides we'll take a bottle home. Indeed, there's lots to love about Cornersmith, especially post footy, on a cold, wet day. As we enjoy excellent coffees made with Mecca's Darkhorse blend, we decide that two out of three ain't bad.
Do … come if you're vegan or vegetarian, this menu's made for you.
Don't … leave empty-handed; take a jam or cordial home.
Dish … Ricotta and quince on sourdough.
Vibe … Neighbourly, sustainable, eclectic, inner-west locale.
- 02 8065 0844
- Prices - Eggs $9, sides $5, sandwiches $11-16, ploughman's/Cornersmith plates $18 (for one), $36 (shared).
- Features - Cheap and cheerful, Gluten-free options, Family friendly, Vegetarian friendly
- Opening Hours - Mon-Fri, 6.30am-3.30pm; Sat and Sun, 7.30am-3.30pm
- Author - Sally Webb