Industrial-chic: a foodie’s guide to Marrickville
Come for the food, stay for the food
When writing this article, I knew that I wanted to start with the most 'Marrickville' thing I'd seen in the area. Perhaps it was the young hipster couple perched on a laneway verge, stuffing their faces with one of the area's famed pork rolls. Or an elderly Italian couple holding hands on a morning stroll down Illawarra road, dressed in matching outfits that could only be described as 'dirty Italian disco meets boogie nights'. As a new resident to the area, these poetic accents of culture were not lost on me. That's one of the great things about moving house, you get to discover an area with fresh eyes.
It would be all too easy to relegate Marrickville as 'that industrial suburb close to the airport'. It certainly doesn't have the whimsical colonial shopfronts of Newtown or the leafy streets of Surry Hills, but wedged between the rough-and-tumble, graffitied buildings are some of the most exciting cafes, concept stores and bars spearheaded by the new frontier of hospo cool kids. Plus, the area's legacy of Vietnamese and European immigrants creates a diverse clash of influences and local fare not often seen in Sydney's transient eastern suburbs.
Read on to discover the top picks from this up-and-coming foodie hotspot.
You'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't instantly fall in love with Two Chaps. A warehouse turned community café serving organic, vegetarian fare, the bread and pastry is made by hand on site and is truly drool worthy. Hot top: while their breakfast menu is heavenly, their BYO bi-weekly dinner of fresh homemade pasta and local cheeses is to die for and a steal at just $55 per head including corkage.
122 Chapel St Marrickville, twochaps.com.au
This is not your cookie cutter Sydney café serving corn fritters and avocado toast. The owner Ben has converted a former convenience store into a cool minimalist space, playing up to the minute hip hop and soul and serving equally soulful breakfast fare. The Asian inspired menu includes breakfast momos, pandan pancakes and their signature 'birds nest', eggs wrapped in potato spaghetti.
132 Illawarra Rd Marrickville, labld.com.au
Quite simply: a café, pizza restaurant, food emporium and cheese manufacturer all rolled into one (aka heaven). Established in 1962 by Umberto Somma, Pasenelle has manufactured cheese in Marrickville ever since. Their bottom floor café and pizza bar open day till night showcases their produce with mouthwatering dishes using house cheeses including mozzarella, buffalo and smoked provola. Don't miss their food emporium, a gastromonic journey through local and international produce (read: free tastings, enough said).
150-152 Marrickville Rd Marrickville, paesenella.com.au
A vegetarian pizza place by the team behind Two Chaps, this miniscule restaurant was named one of the best new openings in 2017 by Broadsheet. Think sourdough pizza with blue cheese, hazelnuts, fior di latte and greens or a margherita with oregano, porotbello mushroom, jersulem artichoke, fior di latte and cauliflower hummus. Serving a small but mighty menu of local wines and Italian favourites such as a negroni, you can either squeeze into the quaint 35 seat venue or opt for take-out.
205 Victoria Rd Marrickville
A favourite with local freelancers and businesses, this cavernous warehouse style café could be found in any of the world's hipster hotspots from Brooklyn to Berlin. Their point of difference? They are bona fide experts in coffee, they roast their own coffee, have partnerships with sustainable coffee farmers from south America to Ethiopia and sell a range of coffee products.
157 Victoria Rd Marrickville. roastville.com.au
A well-established Sydney foodie favourite, Cornersmith simply cannot be overlooked. This stylish café is an institution on Marrickville's bustling Illawarra Rd strip not only a café peddling middle eastern inspired produce, but a picklery where they lovingly create and sell various pickles and preserves, as well as run community classes to learn the tricks of the trade.
314 Illawarra Rd Marrickville, cornersmith.com.au
Lazy Bones Lounge
A place that needs to be seen to be believed. And once you're there, it still almost feels too good to be true. A cavernous, moody space showcasing jazz and world music every night of the week, fit out with velvet curtains, mismatched vintage lounges, chandeliers, old TV sets, pot plants and even a Hare Krishna mural on the ceiling. This place truly feels like it's been plucked straight from East London, a rare gem in Sydney.
294 Marrickville Rd Marrickville, lazyboneslounge.com.au
This bar is so homely and laidback, it's like an extension of your lounge room, the kind of place that characters in a sitcom would spontaneously meet after work. Live music takes the form of local grassroots bands, with open mic nights to support emerging artists. All washed down with craft beers and bar food in an eclectic, arty space with a courtyard and a relaxed vibe.
15 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville, gasolinepony.com
Like every craft brewery, Grifter's three owners, Matt King, Glenn Wignall and Trent Evans started off as home brewers and graduated from brewing in their kitchens to gypsy brewing in the Young Henrys facilities, to settling into their current premises in Marrickville. Open Wednesdays through Sundays with a strong pro-dog, pro-kids, pro-snacks agenda, (which means you can BYO pizza!), this is the kind of venue to bring your housemates, play a few rounds of pool and pretend it's the weekend all the time.
1/391 Enmore Rd Marrickville, thegrifter.com.au
A genuine feeling of community consumes everything about this sprawling colonial era pub, a stone's throw from Henson Park. They have dedicated pram parking, a children's playground, pinball machines instead of pokies and a festive feeling, sun-drenched beer garden perfect for whiling away a Sunday afternoon. Megan McCulloch, who has worked with Heston Blumenthal and was behind the food at Reuben Hills in Surry Hills, is head chef, so the menu is fancier than your standard pub fare.
91 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville, thehenson.com.au
A labour of love for owner Merrick Webb (ex label manager at Warner music), this small, laidback venue offers the holy trinity of live music, drinks and bar food. Art by local artists Suede Fransisco and UniQue is on the walls. A playlist of hip-hop and soul sets the vibe. Titus serves local drops where it can, including Poor Toms gin and Willie The Boatman beer.
337 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville
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