Every week, Two Thousand singles out places worth trying; Brighton The Corner in Petersham made its honour roll in the recent edition. Major credit to the website for this discovery, because it’s a small-scale gem.
The name holds a geographic clue, with this cafe sitting on a corner stretch of the inner-west suburb – right where Brighton Street intersects Palace. As Two Thousand notes, the forces behind this establishment are Nigel Park (Corduroy) and Scott Lincoln Duncan (Fleetwood Macchiato). Together, they’ve added inventive twists to the usual protected-status breakfast staples. Yes, you can get eggs on sourdough ($8), but there are side dishes that might inspire you to fire up Google; as Will said, “what’s butiffara?” (this, by the way, is the answer; add it to your plate at $4 a pop).
Incidentally, he didn’t need it, as he was loaded up on Braised Brisket ($17), which came with a greatest hits of extras anyway – a crisp jackpot of onion rings, the carb comforts of potato hash, a zingy border incursion of mojo verde and the contractually obliged presence of a poached egg.
Getting your yolk fix is optional (for $3) if you pick the Mushrooms on Sourdough ($15), which gets enough fine back-up from curly leaves of kale and a marble-scattering of moghrabieh; it gets a slathering of lemon and thyme butter, too (which you can have subtracted, if you’re a vegan).
For lunch, there’s the Roast Cauliflower Salad ($16) – ordering it may lead to the use of “freaking” and “delicious” in the same sentence. The florets look thoroughly dark and singed, like they were in the detonation path of some pyrotechnics, and are exquisitely intense and flavoursome. The cauliflower gets extra kick from crunchy almonds, chervil, snappy kale and a tumble of Puy lentils.
Our next visit might see us navigating further into the lunch menu, which also includes a Smokehouse Beef Burger with Hand-Cut Chips ($15), and a trio of intriguing sandwiches: Pork Belly, Fennel, Quince Paste ($11); Roast Pumpkin and Capsicum, Charred Eggplant, Labne and Hazelnuts ($14); and Poached Roast Chicken with Celery, Watercress and Romesco ($11).
For your thirst, there’s Little Marionette coffee, Tippity Tea and an inventive list of house-made sodas: Watermelon & Basil, Apple & Ginger and – my favourite – Lemon & Thyme ($4.50 each).
Sadly, the House-made Crumpets with Caramelised Pear and Dulwich Hill Honey Butter ($12) were gone by the time we got around to considering our sweet tooth, but a Salted Caramel Croissant was not a bad consolation.
When we visited Brighton The Corner on Saturday, the operation still felt very new (it was only day three for the cafe, it turned out); I imagine a few of the rough edges will be easily sanded down over time. And even though the kitchen was a bit overwhelmed, service was otherwise attentive, friendly, and good-humoured – even in the face of some overdue orders.
Brighton The Corner has a natural lock on creating a menu that has plenty of appeal, despite its small scale. Helped by its neighbourhood-friendly atmosphere, this cafe is doing a fine job of carrying out its mission statement, lighting up this stretch of Petersham.
Brighton The Corner, 49 Palace St, Petersham NSW