It’s hard to imagine you could be in Marrickville and not be footsteps from an excellent cafe. But on the stretch of Addison Road running from Petersham down to Marrickville Markets, coffee and food was scarce before Ruby Lonesome arrived.

When a “for lease” sign went up in the decal-covered window of the shop, formerly Early Bird Mixed Business, Nicolette Lewis says it was a sign from the universe. Along with partner Lana De Angelis, she tore the Coca-Cola stickers off the windows, pulled down the ceiling tiles and chipped back the plaster to reveal a warm, worn-brick open space with plenty of natural light.

Ruby Lonesome serves the sort of vegan food that’s accessible for all palates. For breakfast, the more-ish maple and chai-spiced muesli has a salted caramel quality that lingers after the first bite. It’s lightly sweet and nutty with artful presentation – a glut of dried fruits, glistening pomegranate seeds and strawberries carved into flowers – and coconut yoghurt.

At lunch, the mock-meat game is strong. Try the tender “duck” served on fluffy brown rice with bok choy and broccolini to mop up the sauce, or the perfectly seasoned crisp fried “chicken” with house-made kimchi. Also worth trying: a wild-mushroom toastie or a crisp-fried tempeh burger.

The bright room is decorated with hanging plants, red-mahogany posts and shelves, as well as charmingly mismatched furniture. It’s the perfect place to linger over breakfast with a group or tuck yourself away in a corner to sip hot apple, ginger and cinnamon – “H.A.G.”.

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Updated: March 20th, 2023

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