The notion of foraging for and growing your own food is romantic and wholesome, and I occasionally have daydreams about building up a stockpile of home grown and preserved pickles, ready to sustain us through the winter months and boost our sustainable credentials. Reality soon kicks in, and I remember that I failed to grow courgettes, killed the supposedly indestructible house warming plants, and forgot to sterilise the jars the only time I really attempted to make chutney (not recommended). It’s fair to say that I’ve admitted defeat, but that doesn’t stop my search for pickled goodness.
So, we ventured out to Marrickville in pursuit of Cornersmith, a cute cafe famed for its Monday ‘closed for pickling’ closure and mastery of local, often house made brunch and lunch plates. We’d heard stories of long queues but risked a Saturday lunchtime and were pleasantly surprised to be seated just fifteen minutes after arriving.
Coffee is well made from Mecca beans, and the rocket fuel that is Cascara is available by the pot (a sort of tea made from dried coffee berries). With the hour for brunch well in the past, we look beyond the toast and eggs to the sandwiches and lunch plates. I chose the Ploughman’s plate, on this weekend complete with corned beef, cheddar cheese, half a pickled egg, piccalilli, grapes and a fennel and brussels sprout slaw. With a slice of sourdough on the side, this approached being an ideal lunch for me: the slaw fresh and crunchy, the piccalilli sharp to cut through the fat of the cheese and meat. Sandwich number one combined most of what was on my plate between two slices of bread. This was no bad thing.
We washed lunch down with rhubarb and strawberry milkshakes: cold milk shaken with a house made rhubarb and strawberry compote. Far from being sickly sweet, this was a little sharp with rhubarb and almost convinced me it was healthy.
Cornersmith’s not at all far from Marrickville station, and whilst the wait might sometimes be long, it’s well worth scrawling your name on the wait list pinned to the door to get to try the overflowing plates of pickles, and pick up an extra jar to take home.
314 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville, 2204
Tuesday to Friday, 6:30am-3pm, Saturday and Sunday, 8am-3pm