When my friend wanted to meet for a coffee date at the Cafe at Marrickville library, I imagined us loitering on the street in front of an austere concrete building like a pair of delinquent teenagers. She told me to bring a jumper as the seating was outside. I enquired about the wisdom of meeting at an outdoor cafe on a cold, rainy morning - she assured me it was undercover.
Was this always here? I wondered to myself, marvelling at the airy pavilion, as I accidentally drove passed the carpark entrance - oops! Turns out parking on the street would be no problem anyway with abundant all-day free-parking. I had clearly not been in the area for a while and did not realise that the former Marrickville Hospital site had been converted into a modern library and community space.
Patyegarang Place: an address named after the first Australian Aboriginal woman to teach the Gadigal language to early colonists is a fitting name for a community hub.
The space is visually stunning, an ambitious collaboration between Inner West Council, BVN architects and Miravac. The structure was also made with sustainability in mind - using recycled bricks and wood wherever possible and boasting "clever design features" that reduce energy consumption.
The community aspect was well executed with 1200 square metres of landscaped garden and a children's playground. Also, being obsessed with pram friendly spaces in the inner west, I could not help but notice how accessible this area was - with ramps and/or elevators to every level.
As I arrived, I could see the place was abuzz with people enjoying the space. There was a small mums group meeting up on the gardens on the grass, older kids grabbing a pastry with their parents as they returned their library books before the end of school holidays and all kinds of folk sitting at the cafe casually enjoying the paper with a coffee. There was a general air of relaxed leisure that I often find hard to capture in the hustle and bustle of the city.
"If there's one thing the people of the Inner West love as much as a good book, it's a good coffee" -- Darcy Byrne, Inner West Mayor
Double Roasters first opened in a Marrickville warehouse space in 2011 with the mission to serve delicious coffee. Since expanding, winning awards and supplying their beans across NSW and the ACT, this cafe is another opportunity to serve the local community that means so much to them.
Orders are made at the counter and my eye was immediately caught by the "housemade ginger and lemon ice tea" which I ordered that on a whim without looking at the rest of the menu. However, after my dining partner returned with her order - a mushroom toastie - I contracted severe food envy and found myself traipsing back to the counter.
This is a cafe that promises a focus on local produce and delivers in a big way. The menu is simple and "toastie" focused, but do not let that fool you. These are not the humble cheese and ham toasties of the school cafeteria (although cheese and ham is available if that should be what your heart desires). The fillings are plentiful with lots of fresh options.
Local Produce and a Leisurely Meal
There are many extremely popular inner west cafes that can make you a coffee by the time it takes the harried wait-staff to enter it into the Ipad. They run on brutal efficiency and your table is set and cleared before you have had a chance to blink, leaving you guiltily reaching for the bill to allow the next of a line of to-be -patrons waiting eagerly at the door. This is not such a place, and so my return to the counter for a second-order was not met with any degree of dismay. In fact, after mulling over the "vegan sandwich" - some roast-pumpkin relish looking deliciousness the counter staff asked if I would like to instead try their new eggplant, beetroot, hummus, pickle creation? Sure, why not!
The sandwich was up there on some of the best toasties I have had (admittedly not a long list), with crunchy toasted sourdough housing a flavourful, textured interior. I was reliably informed at the end of the meal that I had beetroot all through my teeth.
But what was most enjoyable was the vibe of a cafe that allows one to feel comfortable settling in for a leisurely meal and chat. Or curling up with a cup of tea and the paper (as I noticed some other happy customers doing nearby).
We spent a happy few hours enjoying our food and taking in the architecture over a nice chat. After we left my friend sent me a text "what an amazing way to fill a morning" and it was.