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Monday, July 23, 2012

Beejay's and Vesbar Espresso, Marrickville

Crisp pork  belly at Beejay's Marrickville

Pork belly for breakfast? How could I refuse?

We had plans to explore the recent spate of new cafes to open in Marrickville, a growing army of caffeine warriors now jostling for space among the pho noodle houses and Asian grocery stores. It feels more like Surry Hills than Marrickville Mauler territory these days, and Beejay's is one of the newest kids on the block.

Coffee counter at Beejay's Marrickville
Beejay's counter

At nineteen years old, local lad BJ (Benjamin Terkalas) is also one of the youngest cafe owners, converting a former Thai restaurant into an eclectic space that marries old LP records with hessian coffee sacks and revamped chairs plastered with strips of old newspaper.

Cameras and coffee sacks at Beejay's Marrickville
Cameras and coffee sacks 

It's worth looking up toward the ceiling to notice the quirkier details, like the row of old and new cameras lining one wall, and a trail of vintage toy cars on the other.

Cassette tapes at Beejay's Marrickville
Cassette tapes

I'm enamoured by the procession of old cassette tapes that run along the brickwork, a mishmash of Greek artists mixed in with 1980s classics.

Cassette tapes and records at Beejay's Marrickville
LP records

Out the back is a courtyard for soaking up the sun but we take the indoor table by the LP records.

Goats cheese beetroot walnuts and roast peppers on toast at Beejay's Marrickville
Caramelised goats cheese, pickled beetroot, walnuts and roast peppers $12

The breakfast menu is short and sweet, but there's still plenty to muse over. Angie picks the caramelised goats cheese toast, torched under the grill until golden brown in patches. It provides a creamy foil against the bitter crunch of walnuts, sweet roasted red capsicum and earthiness of pickled fresh beetroot.

The bread comes from Sonoma, with most menu items offering a choice between sourdough, soy and linseed or Turkish bread. Alternative toppings include avocado and lemon salt ($6.50), ricotta with honey and banana ($7) or a classic bacon and egg roll ($7.90).

Coffee at Beejay's Marrickville
Flat white and cappuccino

Pork belly eggs hash brown cooked breakfast at Beejay's Marrickville
Beejay's Breakfast $16
Two free range eggs on sourdough, crisp pork belly, avocado, hash brown and baby mushrooms

The promise of crispy pork belly is the sole reason why the Beejay's breakfast leaps off the page at me. It's a fancy fry-up, with your choice of eggs (the poached eggs had a slight vinegary tang), a huddle of panfried button mushrooms and a fan of perfectly ripe avocado. The hash brown is a cluster of golden fried potato shreds, and the planks of pork belly are soft and fatty.

There's a steady stream of customers through the door, and I'm curious to see how it will operate as a wine bar once the liquor licence comes through. We're not really tempted by the desserts in the display counter (even though the homemade mango muffins seem to be a hit with customers)  and instead head across the road to another newbie cafe Vesbar Espresso.

Vesbar Espresso


You'll find Vesbar Espresso on the former site of the old barbershop, on the street that used to lead to the Marrickville Council pool (spot the childhood local). Outside is a litter of milk crates, wooden chairs and stools, all perched higgledy piggledy on the sloping footpath.

The cafe is compact but cosy, with a row of stools covered in old hessian coffee sacks. We decide to sit outside, where a friendly but efficient staff member quickly takes our order.

Freddo espresso coffee at Vesbar Espresso Marrickville
Freddo espresso $6

For owner Aki Daikos, Vesbar is his third cafe after Bay Espresso in Brighton Le Sands and Eastern Grind in Bondi Junction. The menu has an emphasis on simple Italian fare, more noticeable in the lunch menu which includes arancini, antipasto, bruschetta, pasta, a daily soup and a range of salads like the Italian mix beans with pecorino and San Daniele prosciutto.

The breakfast menu lists tempting paninis, organic five grain porridge and the Vesbar Mediterranean breakfast, a rustic board of poached eggs, fresh tomatoes, Persian feta, olives and cucumber with organic olive bread. The bread is by Brasserie Bread and coffee is from Campos.

Ricotta zuccherati donut at Vesbar Espresso Marrickville
Ricotta zuccherati $4

The pastries come from A&P Sulfaro Pasticceria Italiana in Haberfield, and I'm mesmerised by the array of sugar crusted donuts lined up behind the glass cabinet. The Nutella donut is already sold out.

We end up sharing the ricotta zuccherati, the light airy donut piped with a filling of fluffy ricotta cream. It's a sweet counterpart to my freddo espresso - one of the house specialties - a strong cold coffee served on ice.

Vesbar Espresso Marrickville

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Vesbar Espresso on Urbanspoon

Vesbar Espresso
1 Warburton Street, Marrickville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9558 2642

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 6am-5.30pm

Saturday 7am-5pm
Sunday 8am-5pm

Beejay's Marrickville

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Beejay's on Urbanspoon

395 Illawarra Road, Marrickville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9558 8860

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 5am-5pm

Saturday and Sunday 6.30am-5pm

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Marrickville - Cornersmith
Marrickville - Everest Kitchen
Marrickville - Hung Cheung
Marrickville - Yen for Viet

Dulwich Hill - Sideways Deli Cafe
Dulwich Hill - Strawberry Fields Patisserie

16 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/23/2012 02:03:00 am


  • At 7/23/2012 8:11 am, Anonymous Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    Oh my does that Caramelised goats cheese, pickled beetroot, walnuts and roast peppers on toast look good! And that ricotta zuccherati sounds and looks amazing! Love finding new places! Dulwich Hill/Marrickville are sure coming up with hot spots as of late.

  • At 7/23/2012 9:29 am, Anonymous Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy said…

    My brother is moving to Marrickville soon..I think I will have to visit him on a regular basis if this is what Marrickville is serving up!

  • At 7/23/2012 9:58 am, Anonymous Chompchomp said…

    Tina is so right...I was sold on the caramelised goats cheese, but add to that all those other textures and flavours and kaboom! Wow factor!

  • At 7/23/2012 10:18 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    A big hurray for more pork belly breakfasts!

  • At 7/23/2012 11:58 am, Blogger Phuoc'n Delicious said…

    Marrickville is definitely becoming the new cafe hot spot. What an amazing breakfast you had and that ricotta zuccherati is pure indulgence!

  • At 7/23/2012 4:06 pm, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    yum! youre discovering all these goodies near my place i can't wait to try them all out! and pork belly is amazing anytime of the day, id totally have it for a midnight snack.

  • At 7/23/2012 5:34 pm, Blogger Not without my gayby said…

    You forgot Double Roasters on Victoria St. Their pork belly sambo is AMAZING

  • At 7/24/2012 6:30 pm, Anonymous gastronomous anonymous said…

    i definitely can't go past pork belly for brekkie! will definitely have to check this place out!

  • At 7/25/2012 12:12 pm, Anonymous SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa) said…

    Pork belly? For breakfast? They should have named that cafe HEAVEN!

  • At 7/26/2012 9:29 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    I'm loving how all these cute places are popping up in Marrickville Helen...great reviews as usual. And yes please...I'll have pork belly for breakfast too.

  • At 7/26/2012 5:15 pm, Anonymous tania@mykitchenstories.com.au said…

    I saw this cafe being put together and have meant to go back there ever since. Will definitely hurry there soon

  • At 7/28/2012 12:25 am, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    Lots of changes in Marrickville these days. 19 years old and starting his own cafe, you just have to give Beejays a go, don't you? Food looks great, good on him for taking the plunge at such a young age.

  • At 7/29/2012 1:44 pm, Anonymous bigolddi said…

    Have just come back from brekkie at BeeJays. Amazing! Great food and to see a 19yo running a tight ship with cool and calm. This guy you will read about in 10 years time and say remember when he had that little place at Marrickville.....

  • At 7/29/2012 10:39 pm, Anonymous Trish said…

    Marrickville is just getting better and better! Oh the espresso and crisp pork belly looks delish!

  • At 7/29/2012 10:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can't wait to try the breakky with pork belly now!! The pics look so good. Thanks for posting!

  • At 3/20/2013 3:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just walked by Beejay's the other day Just had coffee and a muffin takeaway and probably just spent 2 minutes in that place. But the people were really friendly, open for a little chat and handled my order super quick. Soon gonna come back!


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