Following a month-long renovation, the much-loved, community-friendly Cornersmith Marrickville has reopened with a new coat of paint, new menus, new team members, and extended hours for dinner from Wednesday to Sunday.
The godmother of pickling and Cornersmith co-founder Alex Elliott-Howery describes the subtle updated look (which features extra shelving for plenty of wine) as the "grown-up" version of Cornersmith.
"We were not looking to do a major renovation, because we love this shop," she says. "We still want it to be the place you can walk into in the morning and get a coffee, and think about as a place you can come back to for wine that night."
Joining the kitchen as head chef is former MasterChef contestant and ex-Hotel Centennial cook Ava Stangherlin. She's serving breakfast favourites, such as the egg roll and toastie, and for lunch the ploughman's and the Scando plate (boiled eggs on rye with cultured butter, clothbound cheddar, quince and apple jam, and fruit) from Cornersmith Annandale. You can also build a plate from a selection of "plants", "animals", "staples" and condiments. The evening menu offers similar elements, such as organic oysters from Wapengo Rocks, pickled blue mackerel, and smoked Memphis pork with peach barbeque sauce.
"We wanted to refocus on simple ingredients and our suppliers again, and highlight the delicious things they're making," Elliott-Howery says. "We're also focussing on traditional techniques like pickling, smoking and curing - all of the things we did when we first started."
Cornersmith has recruited sommelier Marc Dempsey (ex-Yellow and the now-closed 121BC) to match drinks with the food. This means diners can have a house-made Bloody Mary with breakfast, or for lunch or dinner a wine from the rotating list, which features the likes of Margaret River's Si Vintners and Mudgee's Eloquesta.
"Our philosophy with food is the same for our drinks - it's all-Australian only," says Elliott-Howery.
Non-alcoholic drinks are available, too, incorporating the brine and sodas made by Cornersmith's fermenter-at-large, Jaimee Edwards.
Elliott-Howery says just because there's now a day and night menu Cornersmith is not suddenly rigid. In fact, it's the opposite. "We want it to be the place that is always open. I don't want it to have limitations where it's just for dinner or it's just a bar," she says.
"We want the community to use it how they need it, whether it's for a meeting at five or they're just dropping by for dessert and a glass of wine; you don't have to just come for dinner."
As for whether there's a chance its Annandale sibling will get the same treatment, Elliott-Howery says: "Annandale is now becoming the bigger Cornersmith experience, where you go for the full breakfast."
314 Illawarra Road, Marrickville
(02) 8065 0844
Mon & Tue 7am–3.30pm
Wed to Fri 7am–late
Sat & Sun 7.30am–late
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