Marrickville NSW

Fresh almonds at the market.

The Cooks River is nearby and this suburb of Sydney is named after a village in North Yorkshire in England.  Before the influx of young artists, musicians and professionals starting around ten years back,  Marrickville seemed destined for gentrification.  Its location relatively near to the city centre in sprawling greater Sydney, plus good transport links, helped nurture its current transformation.

Now there is an annual Marrickville Festival, a local arts tour since 2011 and live music venues, most notably at the Factory Theatre. Australian singer Shannon Noll famously shot one of his music videos, for the track Lift, in Marrickville.  The impression Marrickville gives to me is first, one of an essentially residential corridor, but currently diversifying from its light industrial zones to artisan produce corners, new style cafes and maintaining its music gig scene plus multi-cultural cuisine options.

The stuff of the coffee culture.

The Corinthian Rotisserie at 283 Marrickville Road is a focus of Greek delights, whether they be pickled octopus, Baklava, chicken rubbed with Oregano, grilled lamb with garlic, Retsina wine, Halloumi, tomatoes braised with peas and Kalamata olives.   The restaurant is homely, traditional and comforting, with huge servings for customers and plastic covered red and white checked table cloths decked against wall murals of Mother country scenes.

My cuppa at Pablo & Rusty's in Marrickville.

The barista and coffee scene is vibrant in Marrickville.  Some examples of outlets include the following.
Wicks Park Cafe at 199 Victoria Road continues to provide the former Double Roasters menu item of the B and E roll ( with poached eggs on top of Black Forest Smokehouse bacon) and the roast pork Sambo.

Coffee Alchemy at 24 Addison Road has espresso and filtered coffees made from on-site roasted beans.  Sydneysiders may know about the Coffee Alchemy related Gumption Cafe at the Strand Arcade in the city centre's Pitt Street Mall.

Two Chaps at 122 Chapel Street  offers Blind Man Coffee whilst the
West Juliett Cafe at 30 llwwellyn Street has signature salad creations and popular large sized chocolate chip cookies.

Cornersmith at 314 Illawarra Road is a shining example of organic, free range, home produced and health conscious  clean ingredients.

Paddington terraces in the outer west of Sydney city.   There is a predominance of 19th century terraced or detached Victorian styled houses and early 20th century Federation residences, attesting to the rich architectural heritage in this part of greater Sydney.

Movie productions that also selected Marrickville as a backdrop include Paradise Road, the Tv series Home & Away, Underbelly: The Golden Mile and the hit 1992 movie Strictly Ballroom.   More well known to baby boomers is the Winged Victory memorial outside the Marrickville Town Hall  - this is the largest known bronzed casting in Australia.  Another feature to visit by walking tourists in Marrickville is Stead House, a manor constructed in both Italian and Victorian traditions and which once belonged to Samuel Cook, the General Manager of the Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney's flagship news publication for many years.   Unfortunately this important historical building has been turned into apartments around four years ago.

The old Post Office, now a cafe cum restaurant.

Reputedly providing Vietnamese styled pork rolls for many  years - the Marrickville Pork Roll outlet, a small place with  tasty offerings.

Marrickville is only seven kilometres south-west of Sydney city centre, connected by buses and train lines, and home to the expanding populations wanting to reside near to the Big Smoke that is Sydney.   The area shares boundaries with Petersham, Newtown, St. Peters, Sydenham, Enmore, Stanmore -  previously primary working class districts that are now undergoing urban renewal and resided increasingly by trendy and twenty something hipsters to add to the families and professionals.  The current mix is one of commerical, residential and light industry, with a penchant for a variety of cafes and restaurants, many Indo-Chinese, Greek, Lebanese and modern Australian, but including Nepalese, Portuguese and Japanese.

Always an attractive thirst quencher,  along the main road.

Marrickville personalities have contributed much to Sydney and Australian society.  Test cricketer Ron Saggers and Australian cricket Captain Bob Simpson hailed form this place.  Maybanke Susannah Anderson was a significant reformer  in women's suffrage and the realisation of the Australian Federation.  Jeff Fenech won the world boxing titles three times in his career.  Several well known artistes like singer and actress Trisha Noble;  fashion designer Akira Isogawa;  dancer and choreographer Ross Coleman;  singer Trish Young of the Aussie band The Clouds; singer and songwriter Mark Williams, vocalist for Dragon; actor David Wenham; Tv actor Lisa McCune, Gold Logie winner; and TV actor Virginia Gay, all have called Marrickville home.   So have Major General George Wootten, Commander of the Australian Ninth Division; Arthur Vincent Meehan, orthopaedic surgeon; Damien Leith, winner of the fourth season of TV's Australian Idol; Annette Kellerman, film star, writer and professional swimmer; and Jake Hay, an award winning youth community worker for the Kimberley Region in Western Australia.

The city lifestyle is not lost here.

 The Hellenic Bakery at 371 Illawarra Road is a gem, is located near Marrickville Rail Station and is an interesting trove of Greek heritage pastries, biscuits and baked delights.  I was fascinated by the Poura, a filo pastry roll holding chopped almonds and bathed by a light syrup; Kouroubiethes, a shortbread and almond biscuit dusted wickedly by icing sugar; the vanilla slice called the Milfai; pistachio Torts; the Tiramisu Boat. with chocolate coco spread over Tiramisu al Creme; and the Melamakarona, a vegetable oil and orange juice pastry with fillings of walnuts, cinnamon and clove spices dipped in a light honey syrup, with crushed walnuts covering it.

TIM Products at 407 Enmore Road also specialises in Greek baking, with orange and honey biscuits well known, even amongst some of Wollongong mates.   They offer three sizes of the popular Galaktoboureko, two types of cheese based pastries (one with spinach and the other with Ricotta) and nut rolls.

Kids would love to drop by the Serendipity ice cream factory shop at 333 Enmore Road and adults relish an opportunity to partake the good stuff at the Bourke Street Bakery at 2 Mitchell Street.

Passing by a gelato shop along the main strip of  Marrickville Road.

Colour and variety describes what Marrickville offers.

Interesting enough, one of Marrickville's twinned cities is Bethehelm in Palestine, the others being Funchal on Maderai Island in Portugal and Lanarca in Cyprus.    Its strong cultural linkages to the Middle East precede the concurrent contemporary connections with Vietnam.   Today's emphasis in Marrickville with its younger demographics are facets and amplifications of the slow food movement, a rebellion against the highly commercialised production and supply of food and produce.

The Marrickville Organic Food Markets operate on Sundays at 142 Addison Road.

Cornersmith Picklery at 441 Illawarra Road is a sister joint of the Cornersmith Cafe - it supplies fresh produce from local backyards, runs workshops on pickling plus cheese making  and stocks Marrickville made Feather & Bone meat products. Do not forget to try its signature mustard!

Jiuliano at Unit 22, 10-14 Lillian Fowler Place, opens every week day from 8am to 4pm with fresh pasta products, including its iconic fresh potato based Gnocchi.  Major supermarket chains like Thomas Dux, Coles, Woolworths and Harris Farm stock the Jiuliano products in the greater Sydney region.

The Black Forest Smokehouse at 148 Victoria Road makes small goods all with Aussie meats only, a definite gem.   It offers air dried salami, pates, terrines, Chipolata, smoked bacon, smoked sausages and leg ham.   Run by the Deignan family for four generations, this providore business hails from Queensland with German- Irish roots.

The Paesanella Food Emporium at 150-152 Marrickville Road shines in cheese related products.  This Somma family business that started in 1962 has roots in Naples, Italy.   It runs a deli and the Mozzarella Cafe Bar , offering menu options for breakfast and lunch, with items like the Fresco Breakfast; hot pancakes with Ricotta and blueberry; tasting boards; and a salad with fennel, blue cheese and pear.

Three types of Ricotta are made in the Marrickville base - dry, buffalo and fresh milk.   They also have a buffalo farm in Cairns Queensland and stock at least 3000 inventory items in their retail produce offerings, including the Mascaporne, the Buratta and the Bocconcini.

The Saint Brigid's Catholic Church, at the corner of Livingstone and Marrickville Roads.

Vietnamese food can be found in outlets like Yen for Viet, at 296 Illawarra Road, with folded pancakes filled with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, pork and prawn ( or the Bahn Xeo);
Hanoi Quan at 346b Illawarra Road, has Bun Ca Ca, laden with fish cakes in a peppery soup; and
Marrickville Pork Roll at 236a Illawarra Road has been a long time institution in take away snack baguette rolls that hail from the streets of Vietnam.   Marrickville these days can be seen as when the Mediterranean meets IndoChine, against a landscape and background set by British colonialism and Aussie flavours.  

The Bau Truong chain of restaurants from Cabramatta NSW has a modern outlet in Marrickville.

Always a hub for new migrant cultures, Marrickville enjoys diversity in food, beliefs and produce.

The traditional pub hotel gets a facelift!

Licensed alcohol hubs to relax in include Lazybones at 294 Marrickville Road;  Gasoline Pony, with a retro piano sing along on Thursday evenings; and the Batch Brewery Company at 44 Sydenham Road, with unusual brews.

It is not all drink and eat in Marrickville.  The Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre was opened on Australia Day in 2011, providing a much appreciated facility in this inner city suburb.  Along ht banks of the Cooks River is the Marrickville Golf Course.   The Newtown Jets Rugby League team  is a feeder for players to the Sydney Roosters and play at Henson Park just off Sydenham Road in Marrickville.   Fraser Park is home to the Fraser Park Football Club and the Randwick Petersham Cricket club utilises the Marrickville Oval.


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