In my perfect world all the meat that we eat would come from animals that have been pasture raised and lived their most natural life...as nature intended. Free to roam, forage, give birth to babies and raise them outdoors. Free to roll in the dirt and feel the sun on their bodies. Animals wouldn't be confined to cruel cages that are barely big enough to hold their bodies or in over-stocked barns where they can hardly move just so we can have a cheap piece of chicken or pork. They wouldn't be bred to grow so fast that the weight of their bodies literally crushes their bones and renders them unable to walk to their source of food or water. They would be loved and respected and not treated as a commodity. When I'm president of the world things are going to be very different!
Along with this wonderful stance on ethical meat I love the locavore concept Cornersmith has embraced. The board above the kitchen lists all the places this weeks produce has come from: ham from Feather and Bone, Country Valley Milk, Citrus from Sarah in Marrickville, Rosemary from Lynne, Bay Leaves from George and Ralph and so on. Cornersmith will happily accept produce from backyard gardeners...they'll take your surplus off your hands and trade you from some lovely homegrown honey or homemade conserves. To add to the quaintness the cafe closes on Monday's for pickling! I've died and gone to lovely retro, cafe heaven.
It wasn't all gushing and crying...we did eat a beautiful lunch and had some lovely drinks. The Boy indulged in a luscious Hot Chocolate ($3.00) made with lovely Country Valley Milk from Picton. I decided on the Pear, Rhubarb and Vanilla Yoghurt Milkshake ($6.00) which was a departure from the type of milkshakes we're used to. Instead of being syrupy and sweet my milkshake was slightly tart from the yoghurt. It felt...healthy (not something I've associated with many milkshakes in my past).
I thought The Boy's lunch was incredible value. Free range eggs with pasture raised ham, sourdough toast and Beetroot and Ginger Relish for $9!!! I think this just goes to show that a great brunch made from ethically sourced produce can be cheerfully cheap and deliciously yummy.
My favourite type of meal is one with a plate piled high with bits of this-and-that. I'm a greedy-guts at heart and I want to try everything that's on offer. I was never going to be able to bypass the Ploughmans Plate ($18 for a plate for one person) which was overflowing with tasty morsels: Sumac Lamb (New Horizon Dorper happy happy Lambs), Caraway Labne, Pears, Sourdough, Rocket and Slaw topped with Beetroot. Oh and what's that? A sneaky Pickled Brussel Sprout...that actually tasted really good...not like a Brussel Sprout at all (which is a good thing)!
And it's not long before I'm back at Cornersmith for another brunch - this time with Miss Chicken and Mr Shawn. I was so taken with the Ploughmans Plate on my previous visit that it was impossible to order anything else. It's constantly changing due to what's in season so the plate will be different each time. The Ploughmans Plate must be one of my favourite things to eat - a huge plate crammed with lots of tasty morsels: pasture-raised ham, cheddar cheese, radish + yacon salad topped with feta and pomegranate...and of course sourdough and a great Quince + Pickle chutney (housemade and SO awesome I bought a jar to enjoy at home).
Mr Shawn confessed his GREAT love of Porridge, but funnily it's something that he only eats when out at a cafe - it's a special treat, and when prepared in such a lovely way I can totally see his point. This morning the porridge is prune + cinnamon served with toasted fruits, baked seeds + honey ($10.00). I'm not a porridge eater, but I think this bowl could convert me (next time)! Miss Chicken decides on the Poached (free range) egg roll ($12) with pasture-raised ham, cheddar, garlic aoili, quince + pumpkin chutney and greens. It's a version of my ploughmans plate...in a roll.
Cornersmith is a popular little cafe so expect a bit of a wait. I was seated in under 20 minutes (on both visits) which seems to be pretty standard in Sydney these days. Just don't tear up when you're talking to the staff like I did cos you'll embarrass your dining companions...Miss Piggy "the crazy-crying-blogging-pig-loving-cat-lady"!
Cornersmith is at 314 Illawarra Road, Marrickville.