Marrickville: Sydney’s new cafe frontier

THE inner west Sydney suburb of Marrickville, seven kilometres from the city centre, has long been a bastion of cheap and cheerful Vietnamese restaurants. While these are still in abundance in the lively, multi-cultural suburb, its gentrification in recent years has seen Marrickville evolve from its industrial, migrant-populated roots to a melting pot that now includes middle-class families and hip young things trickling across from Newtown and Enmore. Marrickville’s café and restaurant landscape is changing accordingly. Case in point – Marrickville’s own Coffee Alchemy was declared to have Sydney’s best coffee by The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Café Guide in 2011.

Here are five good reasons to head to Marrickville for your next caffeine fix:

Cornersmith

The recently opened Cornersmith has put Marrickville firmly on Sydney’s café loving map. It’s a small, locavore-style café that makes its own preserves and pickles (and is specifically closed on Mondays for pickling), and cultivates honey on its rooftop beehive. The passionate Cornersmith team use seasonal, quality produce in its delicious and excitingly left-of-centre concoctions, like a sandwich featuring pumpkin, nasturtium and olive tapenade with citrus labneh. The dishes change monthly, and sometimes incorporate ingredients grown in the customers’ own backyards. So popular is Cornersmith that it features queues on weekends, with locals and visitors vying for a coveted table. The coffee is strong yet smooth and supplied by Mecca, one of Sydney’s most loved coffee roasteries.

Double Roasters, Sydney. Pic: Liz Ledden.

Double Roasters

This cool, urban café has a vintage meets industrial fitout and a cool fluoro yellow logo. It is consistently packed with a broad range of clientele reflecting Marrickville’s changing face – mums and babies jostle for space with students, artsy types and tradesmen on their lunchbreak. The coffee is roasted onsite in small batches with a focus on single origins and terroir specific blends. The menu features simple yet tasty café fare from breakfast and brunch offerings (poached eggs et al) to tasty sandwiches like roast pork belly with most dishes under the great value $10 mark.

Post Café

The aptly named Post Café is set in a beautiful old post office building with a soaring ceiling and a historic façade. It is located in the centre of the suburb’s action on busy Marrickville Road, with some outdoor seating as well in a little paved plaza. The cafe offers friendly service, caters well for families and has a great selection of big hearty brunches, some with a Turkish twist. There’s always something sweet and tempting at the dessert counter, and their chai latte is one of the best in the area.

Coffee Alchemy

Winner of the aforementioned ‘Sydney’s best coffee’ title, Coffee Alchemy is at the forefront of Marrickville’s café revolution. It is tiny, serves no food – only coffee, and is somewhat of a hub for local coffee aficionados. They sell freshly roasted coffee by the bag, but if popping in for a caffeine fix you can try their unique carbonated, cold-drip coffee, or the single origin coffee they’re currently roasting. Most customers get their order to go, though there are several seats inside and a few rustic wooden stools on the pavement.

Café 2204

A dark, cavernous café on Addison Road, 2204 offers delicious café fare and free Wi-Fi. There are comfortable couches to sink into, touches of whimsical, vintage décor and exposed brick walls adding to the café’s character. There are moreish muffins for sale at the counter, tasty burgers and delicious paninis, like bacon, brie and cranberry. With coffee by boutique local brand Little Marionette and a liquor license to act as a small bar by night, 2204 are onto a winning formula.