633 Bourke Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
+61 2 9699 1011
After a spot of morning shopping in Surry Hills, we decided that to take a breather by treating ourselves to some pastries at Bourke Street Bakery, which quite a few of my friends and readers have recommended.
A few years ago, co-owners and pastry extraordinaires Paul Allam and David McGuiness opened up the tiny corner bakery and since then, it has become somewhat of a Sydney institution. The duo have also done well to publish a cookbook and expand to open up several other stores around Sydney. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before a Melbourne bakery opens up – and it doesn’t even have to be on Bourke Street in Melbourne’s CBD. Fat chance of that happening, though.
Although this place is barely a decade old, it somehow exudes old world charm in large doses. From the cursive iron ‘boulangerie’ sign above the door to neat little rows of pastries by the windows, it’s hard to believe that you’re actually in flamboyant Sydney and not Paris.
The bakery’s name may be written in neat gold cursive across the window, but the best way to tell that you’re actually in the right place is by spotting the never-ending queue of hungry customers wanting their pastry fix. Despite the crowds, however, you rarely have to wait too long to get served and in a matter of minutes, you’re at the front of the counter not really knowing what to order as THERE. ARE. SO. MANY. YUMMY. FINGSSSSS. Luckily, the patient cashier was on help to assist me with choices and I ended up leaving with a good selection of both sweet and savoury pastries which Marty and I got to enjoy on one of the few tables outside the bakery.
Allam and McGuiness probably won’t win any branding or marketing awards if their not-so-creative business name is anything to go by, however, their pastries are so out-of-this-world amaze-balls. We started off with an apple galette ($5). The pastry was perfectly crispy and buttery, while the tart apple filling had the perfect level of sweetness (i.e. not too sweet).
Next, we had a ham and cheese croissant ($5). I was disappointed to see it as flat as a deflated beach ball, but its taste made up for it tenfold. The croissant was so oh buttery and crispy with the ham and cheese, obviously of good quality, being a perfect second fiddle. Marty isn’t normally a croissant eater but even he had to admit that this one was ‘delicious.’
We both declared the pork and fennel sausage roll ($4.50) our favourite. Like, WOW. It was a fancy twist on the Australian canteen classic and while Marty normally rolls his eyes at ‘reinventions,’ even he had to concede that this was the star of the BSB show – and we’re not talking about Nick Carter from a certain boy band with the same acronym, here.
The pastry may have erred on the slightly oily side but all was forgiven when I bit into the buttery and very flaky pastry and tasted pork and fennel and cumin and coriander and all manners of wonderfulness (I know that’s not a word but whatever). It was the best sausage roll we’ve had. The good news? A recipe can easily be found online so I can attempt to replicate this at home when I can be bothered.
Next, we had the crème brûlée tart (back, $5) and the lemon curd tart (front, $4.80).
At this point, Marty was saying that he had just about ODed on sugar which I thought was funny coming from someone who eats four Bueno chocolate bars in a matter of hours. Still, he put up no fight when I asked him to bite into the crème brûlée tart. It was amazing and actually tasted better than a normal crème brûlée for some reason! We both loved the sturdy top layer which gave way to an ultra-creamy filling. It was sweet all over, with strong hints of custard and slightly burnt caramel flavours shining through, making this a delight to eat.
On the other end of the spectrum, the lemon curd tart was as tangy as the crème brûlée tart was sweet. Marty does not normally go out of his way to order lemon tarts (‘because Libby is one already, bwah!’) but he enjoyed this – and so did I. The filling was perfect; equal parts tangy and creamy, it was beautifully offset by a flawless shortcrust base. Delicious.
Marty then wanted something sweet to drink so I got him a large Belgian hot chocolate ($4.50). There aren’t many places, let alone bakeries, that make their own chocolate milk so we were sufficiently impressed when we found out that chocolate milk is made from scratch here and served either cold (bottled, and straight from the fridge) or hot (obviously served in a mug). Given the amount of food we ordered, Marty, in hindsight, thought the hot chocolate was overkill as it was pretty rich. Having said that, we both agreed that it wasn’t sweet compared to hot chocolates served at other places (cough cough Max Brenner) and that it was slightly malty, which was a nice touch. Marty also said that it tasted more ‘organic’ than the drinks MB also serve.
If we had our way, we probably would have stayed at BSB all day. We would have happily lined up for more pastries as soon as we finished off a set, and do it again and again until we are told to eff off. In a city that’s known for its amazing fine dining restaurants, I can honestly say that this is definitely one of my favourite places to eat and would not hesitate to recommend it to people. Nor would I hesitate to order five pork and fennel sausage rolls the next time I’m here.