Eat Streets of Marrickville, from daggy to hipster in 50 years

During the 70s, Marrickville in Sydney’s inner west was a Greek enclave. Greek migration to Australia gained momentum after WWII but Greek cafes and milk bars had existed in Australia since the 1920s and 1930s and were very much responsible for introducing American fast food to a movie-loving public who couldn’t get enough of hot dogs, burgers, fries and shakes. Milk Bars were usually situated next door to cinemas.

Written by Topaz Moon

During the 80s, while the Greek and European influence was still quite strong in Marrickville, there was a shift towards more Asian influences. Specifically, the Vietnamese who settled in the area after the conflict in their homeland ended. Vietnamese grocery and bread shops started springing up all over the place.

It was during the 90s that a quasi gentrification cum mod-ozification vibe started taking hold of the suburb. Coffee culture exploded in Sydney’s inner west and slowly but surely the hipsters moved in.

In the early part of the 20th century, Marrickville became an industrial hub of manufacturing. Textiles, potteries, steel mills, timber mills, quarrying, furniture making were all active. More recently, it was the hipsters who saw the value of the old buildings, shop fronts and warehouses from that industrial era and turned them into art studios, cafes, vintage shops, small bars and more. The old post office is now the Post Cafe and there is another long-time cafe called Kelby’s. Both do very good breakfast and brunch dishes as well as serve reasonably good coffee.

Post Cafe Marackville

There is also an excellent Italian bakery near here called Panificio for truly delicious authentic Italian bread. A relative newcomer on the hipster eating scene is Ruben Republic, which serves New York-style sandwiches and burgers that are so hot in Sydney right now. Ruben Republic does them quite well for a reasonable price.

Every Sunday there is a hipster-influenced market inside the Addison Road Community Centre. It’s a food based market with an emphasis on organic produce. The market is very popular with the locals and crowded with families and their dogs. They serve loads of street food with stallings selling everything from dumplings, gozleme and sausages to baked goods and more.

Now in Marrickville the developers have moved in and many locals have taken to calling the place Mirvacville in homage to one of the biggest developers in the area – Mirvac. They have turned the old Marrickville hospital into the new library/cultural hub/arts centre and surrounded it with tall apartments.

The Old theatre, which for many years was the Bing Lee electrical appliance store, is now also being developed into tall apartments, as are other areas of the suburb.

Interestingly, the Sydney lock-out laws have driven a genesis of small bar culture into the inner west and Marrickville has a few new interesting places to drink and enjoy live music. There is certainly a groovy new vibe present and places such as Gasolene Pony, Lazy Bones, Camelot Lounge and even the old Bowling Club (heavy metal bands every Sunday) now cater to people who have been pretty much starved of a decent live music scene since even before the archaic lock-out laws drove club and pub goers out of the city. I guess once all the new apartments are occupied, the people living in them will have plenty of funky choices for eating and drinking on their doorstep.

Marrickville

Here are a few of my favourite places to eat at today in Marrickville.

Huong Giang Vietnamese Restaurant

I love this place and I eat here a lot. Really, quite a lot! The food is so fresh and tasty not to mention ridiculously cheap. Huong Giang is frequented by knowledgeable locals who come here for the Beef Pho, the Vietnamese-style pancake and the freshly made and irresistible spring rolls.

I come here for the rice noodle soup with crispy skin chicken on the side. The noodles are velvety, the broth is a masterful blend of aromatic herbs, and the chicken is my favourite style of fried chicken ever! This dish is my number one hangover cure. I cannot even say how many times I have stumbled onto the bus feeling less than shiny and made my way to this establishment for this restorative noodle broth and fried chicken combo.

Huong Giang Vietnamese Restaurant
287 Marrickville Road
Marrickville NSW 2204, Australia

Corinthian Rotisserie

Corinthian Rotisserie makes the tastiest Greek-style slow cooked lamb in Sydney. When I had my 50th Birthday Party I ordered half a lamb from this establishment and it was a big hit. All I had to do was prep a few salads and get some bread rolls and it was a completely hassle-free party. I also recommend the Moussaka, which is layers of eggplant and potato cooked with a tomato-based lamb mince sauce and smothered with béchamel. The pastichio, which is the Greek version of pasta al forno, is also delicious.

The lamb at Corinthian Rotisserie is their standout dish and they have many tasty vegetable side dishes to go with it. The place has been recently refurbished and the food is reasonably priced.

Corinthian Rotisserie
283 Marrickville Road
Marrickville NSW 2204, Australia

Gelato Franco

Gelato Franco is a popular gelato shop that opened in Marrickville about five years ago. It is a family-run operation owned by the previous gelato maker from Bar Italia in Leichhardt, where he worked for 20 years. If that is not enough endorsement, I am not sure what is.

The proof is in the eating. Gelato Franco serve around 15 gelato flavours only but they are of exceptional quality. On summer weekends the queue is out the door.

Gelato Franco

Gelato Franco
281 Marrickville Road
Marrickville NSW 2204, Australia

Marrickville Pork Roll

Marrickville Pork Roll serves Banh Mi of legendary cult-status among Sydney’s food cognoscenti. The pork, chicken or meatball rolls from this place are second to none! It is quite literally a hole in the wall of a tiny shop along Illawarra Road. You order, pay, take-away and delight in the fresh taste explosion. There is always a queue here but it moves quickly. The Banh Mi is ridiculously cheap at $6 to $7 per roll and it is one of my favourite things to eat. It is also another exceptional hangover cure, especially when teamed with a packet of salty potato crisps, which I buy from the nearby supermarket.

Marrickville

Marrickville Pork Roll
236 Illawarra Road
Marrickville NSW 2204, Australia

Paesanella Cheese Emporium and Italian Restaurant

I remember coming to Paesanella in the late 70s with my parents, at their old location on Gerald Street, to buy freshly made Italian cheese. At the time, fresh cheese was a novelty in Sydney. Paesanella stood out as a local artisanal cheese-making enterprise supplying Sydney’s huge Italian community with freshly made ricotta, gorgonzola, mascarpone and mozzarella since the early 60s. They moved to their current Marrickville location many years ago and have since expanded to another location in Haberfield as well.

Marrickville

The Marrickville location comprises the cheese emporium upstairs (where you can buy their own locally made cheeses, imported European varieties, hams, salamis and other Italian groceries) and the Pizzeria and Cafe on the ground floor. I have eaten here many, many times and I particularly love the spaghetti vongole which is a very generous portion.

I always enjoy the pizzas at Paesanella too as they have that chewy bread-like base, which is authentically Italian. They also make amazing antipasto platters and serve a range of take-away panini and salads. The desserts are also all made in-house. I love the tiramisu, which is made with their own mascarpone and is seriously delicious. The food here is reasonably priced and high quality. Finding quality authentic Italian food in the casual eating scene is becoming harder and harder in Sydney, so Paesanella is real gem.

Paesanella Cheese Emporium and Italian Restaurant
150-152 Marrickville Road
Marrickville NSW 2204, Australia

Com Que

Tucked away among all the other little Vietnamese cafes along Illawarra Road is a relative newcomer, Com Que. I have only eaten the food here once, delivered by Uber Eats. I ordered the grilled chicken over sticky rice and the salt and pepper eggplant. They were both mouth watering dishes and I would go there again, just to eat those same two dishes (even if there was no home delivery).

I have since recommended this place to one of my friends who took her dad here and they loved it. The menu has many interesting-sounding dishes. You know the place is authentic when they have offal and chicken feet on the menu!

Marrickville

Com Que
296 Illawarra Road
Marrickville NSW 2204, Australia

That’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed my write-up of Marrickvile eat streets. Stay tuned for my next installment on Dulwich Hill and Petersham.

Topaz Moon hails from Australia and is the local expert when it comes to the Sydney food scene, thanks to her deep and spiritual connection with food. For Topaz Moon, food is not just about eating. Food is all about feeling and adventure! When she is not blogging, Topaz Moon likes to “get to know” her many personalities over some chilled red wine. She first met Bossy Flossie during a seance and they have been bosom-spirit-buddies ever since!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: