The Marrickville cafe scene is on the up and up, with current drawcards including Coffee Alchemy and the new Double Roasters. But this week’s addition to the cafe-scape is less about roasting the beans and more about a comfortable and relaxed spot for a nibble on some housemade relish and a brew of Mecca coffee. Enter Cornersmith, swinging its doors open for the first time last weekend on the high street strip of Illawarra Road.

The whitewashed, unmistakably friendly little cafe sits in what used to be an industrial thread store and brings some disparate influences into harmony. Run by husband and wife team James Grant (ex Mecca Espresso) and Alex Elliott-Howery (who originally opened eclectica store Pigeon Ground), their collective experience takes in both retail and coffee, and it’s clear from the second you walk into the space – marked by its white tiles and exposed concrete floor – that this is a place where flavours matter. Elliott-Howery is in charge of the menu and food, making twice weekly trips to the markets for produce from small scale, local and seasonal sources.

Housemade pickles and relishes grace plates or can be bought to take home; the La Marzocco pumps out Mecca coffees; Tea Craft teas brew gently and toasts come topped with olive ricotta, roast tomato and beetroot relish, or goats cheese, apple jam and sesame seeds. There are even notes on the menu board pointing to the free-range, local prosciutto.

Grant had his eye on the location for a couple of years before a chat with the owner became a deal, but the name was easy enough. It’s on a corner and it’s all about the details of local and small scale craft, hence Cornersmith.

There is a feeling of simplicity here, both in design and menu (though a more extensive menu is promised in the new year). But with a two cheese and pickle toasted sandi and a long mac on the table, do you really need anything else? We like the honesty and simplicity of the flavours and the space.

314 Illawarra Road, Marrickville
(02) 8065 0844

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Mon closed for pickling
Tues to Fri 6.30am–3.30pm
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