1 Station Street Petersham, NSW 2049
|Opening hours||Mon, Wed-Fri, 7.30am-4pm; Sat-Sun, 8am-4pm; closed Tuesday|
|Features||Licensed, Outdoor seating|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
|Phone||02 9568 4644|
It's not a pub. That's the first thing to know about The Pig and Pastry. Yes, at lunchtime you can get beer with your schnitzel, but it's actually a charming cafe on a corner in Petersham a block from Parramatta Road - too charming, really, for something so close to Parramatta Road. The name was British: a Pig and Pastry cafe exists in York, run by a relative of the owners.
At The Pig and Pastry, the bacon is fried until it's curled and blackened at the edges as a salty-crunchy foil to a sweet corn fritter. The leg ham comes with a classic eggs Benedict, or simply stuffed into a soft roll with a fried egg and homemade tomato sauce.
Then there's the pastry, all of it made in-house by co-owner and head chef Iain Smart: soft, pale yellow brioche, to go with that eggs Benny or toasted and spread with fresh ricotta, honey and banana; and a cabinet at the counter groaning with muffins and tarts.
In a Sunday morning downpour it's a cosy, brightly lit cafe, site of the former fine-diner Blancmange. It's all slightly farmhouse chic, without being kitsch: the walls have been stripped to pale exposed brick, with two long communal tables anchoring the room, striped awnings over windows, pots of fresh flowers and pretty teacups on display.
The cafe is full but service is relaxed, staff accommodating.
The menu is an old-fashioned, superfood-free proposition (ever more rare, especially in the inner west), but with an emphasis on local suppliers, such as Pepe Saya for the butter and Little Marionette coffee.
Breakfast is served until noon, when a short lunch menu kicks in, offering lighter fare such as asparagus and broad bean risotto and grilled salmon salad alongside schnitzel and a beef burger with triple-cooked chips. There's also a short list of mostly Australian wines, and a few beers and a cider.
Corn fritters are so often thoughtlessly made, doughy and undercooked, so it's a delight when it arrives pan-fried golden and generously studded with corn kernels, under a soft poached egg, a tangle of rocket and a sweet avocado and tomato salsa.
Poached eggs on a slice of home-made brioche with a generous helping of smoked salmon (optional, along with bacon) and a silky hollandaise is Benedict by the book. Three small pancakes, light and springy and delicately crunchy thanks to a sprinkling of semolina, are served not with syrup, but a tart rhubarb and strawberry compote and Greek yoghurt. It feels altogether more wholesome than it ought.
A Little Marionette piccolo latte is strong with beautifully golden crema, while a gingerbread milkshake is presented adorably with honey dripped lavishly down the sides of the cup.
On a fine day, we'd take our second coffees across the street to enjoy in Petersham Park. But for now, a slice of sticky, caramelised tarte tatin and a chewy dark chocolate-chip cookie sprinkled with crunchy salt flakes to take home will have to do.
Menu A classic, family-friendly cafe breakfast.
Recommended dishes Eggs Benedict, sweet corn fritters, gingerbread milkshake.