Tucked away in the heart of Annandale is Cornersmith cafe, a hub for community engagement and ethical trading that has reignited the long lost culture of neighbour to neighbour bonding.
Opening Cornersmith’s doors in Annandale was a response to the immense popularity of the Marrickville cafe by the same name. However, unlike its big sibling, Annandale is completely meat free, focused on producing flavoursome vegetarian meals using only the season’s finest produce.
Cornersmith is the brainchild of coffee industry veteran, James Grant and expert pickler and preserver, Alex Elliot-Howery. Inspired by their pursuit for a sustainable business that highlights makers, producers and growers, the pair combined their knowledge to open two Cornersmith cafes complete with a picklery, cooking school and cookbook.
James and Alex have built up strong ties to the local community, so much so that locals are able to exchange home-grown produce for a meal or house-made products at Cornersmith. They also work closely with other local businesses, particularly Dust Bakery, which uses their bok heritage grain, and The Vege Box mobile vegetable delivery service.
Head Chef, Sabine Spindler, is known among the community as the ‘Waste Warrior’ (@wastewarrior), committed to combatting food wastage. Her goal is to promote the use of every part of the vegetable regardless of its conventional consumption.
Sabine’s changing menu promotes ethical food production and is focussed on using as much local and sustainable produce as possible. Menu favourites include the buttermilk waffles with Pepe Saya butter and the charcoal bread with pickled eggplant, broad beans, peas and buttermilk ricotta. To drink, Mecca coffee and Sample single origins blends are brewed all day long, which are graciously lapped up by Cornersmith’s faithful regulars.
As well as the cafe, Cornersmith products can be purchased at the adjoining retail section, where visitors can take home house-made pickled goods, as well as Kristen Allan dairy and Bread and Butter Project loaves, among other delectable goodies. Picnic baskets and kids lunchboxes are sure crowd pleasers that can be collected from the counter. These baskets include favourites from the cafe menu for those who would rather stroll across the road and soak up the sun in Hinsby Park.
Cornersmith’s rustic interiors are embellished with soft blue tones and polished concrete floors that lead out to an open kitchen, enabling the scents and sounds of sizzling, wholesome food preparation to filter out to hungry guests. With plenty of mouth-watering options to choose from and no health-conscious guilt about gobbling them up, there’s no wonder Cornersmith’s visitors keep coming back for more.