Although this blog charts my exploration and adventures, every now and then I get “trapped” in the confines of my own neighbourhood, “forgetting” that a large, sprawling city exists beyond Bondi Beach, Bellevue Hill and Bondi Junction!
While arguably much of the action in Sydney takes place in the Eastern Suburbs and CBD, there is an equally vibrant area of the city in the form of the suburbs that make up the “inner west”. I’ve spent some time exploring a number of these, but I’ve always had the desire to travel a little further westwards and after some research, I earmarked Marrickville and Dulwich Hill as potential destinations. But it’s no fun exploring new territory on one’s own, so I enlisted the help of an equally adventurous friend who enjoys exploring uncharted territory as much as I do. Together, we sketched up an extensive itinerary of places to visit. But given that this city is a gastronomic utopia, it stands to reason that most of them were cafes, bakeries and food markets!
Unfortunately a number of expected and unexpected forces (a media event at Sydney Story Factory, 50km speed limits, rather muddling GPS directions on the iphone and a much needed detour to Dress for Success) curtailed the itinerary somewhat but as the rundown below will reveal, while we may not have traversed the neighbourhoods side streets and high streets, we certainly got a good “taste”!
Marrickville and Dulwich Hill are classic inner west suburbs in the sense that they represent a mix of Sydney’s architectural periods (terrace, miner’s cottages and 1970’s semis), a rich population mix, a selection of funky shops and eateries and a healthy dose of dodgy and rundown areas that wouldn’t look out of place in a “drive-by” cinematic scene. The latter is certainly reflective of a contradiction that seems to exist here. One minute you’re admiring a run of quaint cottages and a run of high street boutiques and the next you’re sidestepping broken beer bottles, abandoned mattresses and television sets. Quite a number of the aspirational suburbs in Sydney possess this dichotomy. The “special moments” need to be sought out. You need to look deeper. Fortunately, I’ve never shied away from a bit of travel research.
The following establishments were our “sought out” hot spots of the day.
*Double Roasters. The scene of one of the best cappuccinos I’ve had to date. Add to to the mix, a warehouse-style interior that oozes personality and the intoxicating smell of freshly roasted beans and you have yourself one fine coffee-making destination.
*Lunchtime eatery Cornersmith. What was once a sewing shop, is now a delightful corner cafe with character and a menu of note (read: sweet baked ricotta on toast with baked plums), a dedication to the sourcing of sustainable, locally sourced ingredients (they have a board above the kitchen which lists the providence of the week’s produce) and great service.
*Strawberry Fields Patisserie in Dulwich Hill. Beautifully crafted pastries and cakes in a laid-back, French-style setting.
As expected, I’m a little hooked on the not-so-wild, but rather exciting Inner West, so you can expect a few more of these neighbourhood updates in the future. Recommendations welcome.