In India everyone, from office workers to sari-clad women who work in the fields, sits down to lunch from a tiffin – packed lunchbox full of homemade dishes and treats. Portable, popular and nourishing, the tiffin has inspired Stuart Clarke’s new venture in Stanmore, Core Catering, a boutique catering business and storefront cafe on Percival Road.

“You’ll be able to collect a tiffin-style brown paper bag with morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea all together on the way to work,” says Clarke, who has spent the past five years working as a chef in Sydney. Sandwiches, salads, frittatas and tarts are offered at lunch. Snacks include savoury muffins and walnut brownies. The English expat also has dinner covered, with dishes such as lamb tagine, beef madras and fish-market pie available to take home at the end of the day.

Core Catering is the realisation of Clarke’s dream to open a, “Creative, local-produce-driven company with old-school customer values.” But a cafe was never part of the plan. “The storefront happened as soon as I saw the building and had the opportunity not only to showcase my great food, but a great part of the history of Stanmore,” he says.

For those eating in, homemade cakes, cookies and pies, grilled sandwiches and salads are on the cafe menu, as are Brooklyn Boy bagels. The drinks list includes Single Origin coffee, Slow Tea Company organic teas, Capi drinks, Soda Press sodas, fresh juices and smoothies.

Core Catering serves delicious homemade food. Think poached blue eye with lime tequila tomato salsa, and sticky coconut chicken with miso-grilled eggplant and pickled daikon. It caters corporate and private events ranging from breakfast networking meetings, executive picnics and boardroom lunches, to canapé cocktail parties and functions on private boats.

Clarke has retained many of the former butcher shop’s original features and installed a number of retro pieces he has collected over the years: vintage signage, Coca-Cola paraphernalia and a ‘50s-era oven that doubles as a display cabinet.

Core Catering
124 Percival Road, Stanmore
(02) 8580 0107

Mon to Fri 7.30am–6.30pm
Sat 7.30am–2.30pm

Note: Core Catering will reopen for the new year on Monday Jan 25.