Cornersmith café opens for drinks

Cornersmith 3

Alyssa Anne has a tipple in Marrickville:

Billed as a ‘tipple and a pickle’, one of Inner West Sydney’s favourite cafés has recently nabbed itself a license. Instead of pairing their locally and seasonally-sourced dishes with coffee, teas or inventive milkshakes (the menu board was once graced with a ‘strawberry and beetroot’ milkshake), you can settle in with a cold longneck of locally brewed beer ($12), wine by the glass ($12+) or bottle and even a tropical sunset-hued Aperol spritz.

We swing on by around 6pm, not long after the 5:30 opening time on a Friday night. It’s unlike the clamour to get a table on weekend mornings and the couple of staff on the floor are welcoming and helpful. There’s something comforting about this space – the smiles, the wholesome food, it’s understated wooden counter, mottled concrete floor and simple white tiles. And though this stretch is best known for its cheap and cheerful Vietnamese restaurants – patrons seen in windows slurping down fragrant bowls of pho – Cornersmith has really made a name for itself (who doesn’t love a café complete with its own rooftop apiary?). Dare I say, they’ve endeared themselves to the community here, whatever that is.

CornersmithTrue to form, the Friday evening menu features the housemade pickles, seasonal produce (some even traded with locals whose fecund backyard gardens yield great bounties) and ethical meats. Every so often, an order for the smoked sausage with fill the cosy space with a homely aroma, rumbling the belly of even this staunch vegetarian.

We settle in with a share platter for two ($22) (without the smoked sausage and pork) and glasses of the Ngeringa Vineyards Rose. At other tables and up at the bar, couples share longnecks of Real Ale from Enmore outfit Young Henrys, munching on smoked rosemary almonds or jerky. When the share platter arrives it’s dotted with a bit of everything from the menu – housemade labne is tart and creamy, perfectly offsetting earthy jewel-toned beets. There’s a smattering of those almonds, crisp baby pears, the last of the season’s heirloom tomatoes, flavourful with herbs and dollops of housemade ricotta. There’s a serve of tender roasted capsicum with capers, the olive oil best soaked up with the springy Goldilocks of rye bread (not too chewy, not too light). And of course, the mouth puckering good pickles.

Best of all, we can hear each other speak over the buzz of end of week conversation. It’s not a springboard for a big night out, but it’s a great way to unwind, to toddle off home with a glow of good food and good company (or is that the wine?). Simple pleasures is what Cornersmith do best.

What: Tipple and a pickle. Cornersmith café opens for drinks

Where: Cornersmith, 314 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville

When: Fridays, 5:30 – late

Find out more at the Cornersmith Facebook page