Tag Archives: bakery

Baroque Pantry and Bistro, The Rocks

Updated visit:

We recently went back to Baroque, for dinner this time, on a Tuesday night for their Baroque Bouchon $48 three course plus wine menu. This is an changing weekly menu, its name inspired Bouchons of Lyons, which is well known for bistro meals and wines at a low price.

Baroque
Baroque

On this visit, we were lucky enough to be there for the last Bouchon menu! After being seated, we were offered a choice between the house white or red wine, with top up. They were very generous with this!

MOULES À LA NORMANDE Mussells with cider, cream and eschallots
MOULES À LA NORMANDE Mussells with cider, cream and eschallots

Entree was a mussels dish with yummy sauce. You can’t really go wrong with mussels and a cream sauce…

Free bread!
Free bread!

We also received complimentary baguette bread with a slab of butter. This went well to mop up the mussel’s sauce as well.

POULET AUX 40 GOUSSES D'AIL Chicken cooked with 40 cloves of garlic
POULET AUX 40 GOUSSES D’AIL Chicken cooked with 40 cloves of garlic

This was the main – beautifully presented and a very tasty collection of different elements.  No wonder – it had 40 cloves of garlic!! Good way to keep the vampires away…

There was vegetables, some beans, mash and what seemed to be a small croquette.

SAINT HONORE ROSE FRAMBOISE Raspberry and rose gateau St Honore
SAINT HONORE ROSE FRAMBOISE Raspberry and rose gateau St Honore

The dessert was also a highlight! This was quite interestingly pieced together, with a slightly hard/crunchy pastry for the bottom square and those five spheres topped on top. Quite delightful and well presented.

All in all, we enjoyed the Bouchon menu and hope they keep going with it! The $48 three course is a good deal, though the portions are quite small. I imagine some people may not feel quite full… Still, a very tasty way to try entree, main and dessert, plus wine and free bread!

Original post:

It’s 8am on a Sunday and we’re headed out to the City for a trip to Cockatoo Island for the 19th Biennale of Sydney. The plan is to breakfast at Cafe Sopra in Walsh Bay but it turns out they don’t open until noon! What kind of cafe opens so late…

Pretty interior
Pretty interior

Instead, we head for Baroque (Pantry by day, Bistro by night). Even at 9am, when the Rocks Markets are still being setup, the tables are getting filled up. There’s tables inside and outside but they still don’t seem to be enough. Soon, there’s even a waiting area for people to get seated.

Baroque Pantry and Bistro
Baroque Pantry and Bistro

Baroque Pantry and Bistro

  • Website: http://www.baroquebistro.com.au/
  • Address: 88 George Street, The Rocks
  • Pantry hours: 8am-3pm daily
  • Bistro hours: Tues to Sun from 6pm
  • Bookings: recommended, do it online via Dimmi and earn points (see their website)

Baroque is pretty much located on the corner of George Street and Hickson Road in The Rocks area. There’s cobblestone paths and markets every Sat and Sun surrounding this popular eatery.

Baroque is kind of a mixed bag. Their website describes it as a pantry, bistro, restaurant and patisserie all rolled into one. Opening in 2009 by the Charkos family who own the popular La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie just down the road, Baroque is headed by Chef Drew Bolton. There’s a lot going on here, including cooking classes (including macaron masterclass!).

Since we there for breakfast, I’ll only talk about Baroque Pantry. So what’s there to eat?

Baroque menu
Baroque menu

Baroque is a modern French style restaurant. Their menu is quite extensive and you can read up on it here. The price is about $10-$30 for breakfast and lunch items. They also serve wines, cocktails and beers.

Flat white $4.50
Flat white $4.50

D2D’s flat white arrives. It’s a bit hot sitting in the sun in the alfresco dining and it’s a shame they don’t have more indoor seats or shaded areas.

Egg Cocotte 15.5 Bacon, mushroom, tomato, hollandaise, served with Sonoma sourdough toast
Egg Cocotte $15.5
Bacon, mushroom, tomato, hollandaise, served with Sonoma sourdough toast

This is my little pot of baked eggs served with Sonoma bread. Although the pot is quite small, it’s packed with bacon, mushroom, tomato and even some spinach. Because of the depth of the bowl (usually baked eggs is in a shallow pan), the egg is less cooked than normal. This might put some people off?

The bread is from Sonoma and must have been slathered in butter before it was toasted, because it tastes so good and feels a bit oily when I pull it apart.

Quite a filling breakfast.

Croque Madame 22 Croque Monsieur served with a fried free range egg
Croque Madame $22
Croque Monsieur served with a fried free range egg

This is D2D’s croque madam – basically a ham and cheese toast with fried free range egg on top, served with a side of salad. This is a very fried dish! So the salad helps to balance it out.   This is a pretty big serving, much bigger than my mini baked eggs.

All up, the bill comes to $42 for two breakfasts and a coffee. Pay inside and you’ll see:

Inside Baroque
Inside Baroque

Their patisserie kitchen! No wonder there is little seating inside, they have a big open kitchen taking up most of the space. Here’s a couple paying before us, sporting sunnies for the day ahead.

Macarons
Macarons

Baroque Macarons are quite a favourite in this town. They are $3 each (or $2.70 takeaway), and you can get 3 macarons plus a coffee for $12. As I said above, you can even make your own in a Baroque Macaron Masterclass.

Dessert time
Dessert time

They also have a wide range of other cakes and delightful desserts. Unfortunately we were too full to try any after breakfast.

Before we head off, here’s one other little secret:

Strawberry garden
Strawberry garden

Next to the alfresco dining areas are a series of potted trenches . I initially thought they were just decorative plants, but a closer inspection revealed… strawberries! This one isn’t quite ripe yet. They also had some other herbs like lavendar, mint, oregano and dill!

I guess if you want you can grab some herbs and sprinkle onto your meal!

What else is around?

  • The Rocks Markets set up right outside Baroque and up to the end of George Street every Saturday and Sunday.
  • La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie is just down the road if Baroque is too packed or you want something more casual
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • The Circular Quay wharf area makes a nice walk around the water to either Opera House or Walsh Bay

Baroque | Bistro Bar Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Don Campos and Bread & Circus, Alexandria

Last weekend, we headed out to Alexandria to check out the Art Hunter exhibition, which was a short term show set up by the famous art and design blogger The Cool Hunter.

Afterwards, we headed across the road to check out the Potting Shed, a new bar at the Grounds of Alexandria. BUT when we weaved through the crowded Grounds to get there, it wasn’t opened! This was a bit disappointing, as I had heard it had opened late March and was open from 11am… 😦 The Grounds website doesn’t say anything about it as yet, so I guess it’s still in the works?

Plus it was hot and I was looking forward to nice cold drink.

Thankfully, with the wonders of the Internet, we found some other nearby options at 21 Fountain Street:

Campos Specialty Brewing Bar

Don Campos Specialty Brewing Bar
Don Campos Specialty Brewing Bar

When you walk into 21 Fountain Street, the first ‘stop’ is the Campos Bar. In fact, that’s the only signage you see from the outside. We’d been looking for Bread & Circus and walked right past 21 Fountain Street, because the outside sign only says “Campos”.

Afternoon coffee
Afternoon coffee

Further in past Campos, however, is Bread & Circus! But straightaway, it’s obvious that there is a line of people waiting for tables. Sigh. I’m not a fan of waiting, which is why I always prefer to book ahead or just go somewhere else.

I can never understand the people who show up at Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian and are happy to wait 1 hour! From memory, we’ve waited at Chai Thai in Westfield Sydney (40 minutes!) and Reuben Hills (15 mins).

Anyway, we decide to grab a drink at Campos instead – since we’ll be having a big dinner later.

Affogato
Affogato

D2D orders a white chocolate affogato and I get the peanut butter affogato. It’s so good for a hot afternoon. I can’t taste much difference between the two affogatos, but it doesn’t really matter since anything with ice cream usually just tastes awesome.

Don Campos on Urbanspoon

While we waited for our affogatos, I’d wandered around.

Rosetta Stone Artisan Bakery
Rosetta Stone Artisan Bakery

Next to Don Campos is the cafe and bakery for the Rosetta Stone Artisan Bakery. Behind this small shop front is a large glass walled area for industrial baking! No one was baking this late in the afternoon, but it looked pretty pro.

The breads for sale
The breads for sale

I then snuck up to Bread & Circus and asked how long the wait for a table for two is. It’s only 10 minutes! So we quickly drink up our affogatos and go up….just in time for the line to be cleared except for another table for two! 🙂

Excellent timing…

Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen
Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen

Bread and Circus Wholefoods Canteen

  • Website: http://www.breadandcircus.com.au/
  • Address: 21 Fountain Street, Alexandria
  • Open: Mon to Fri (7am – 3pm) and Sat & Sun (7am – 4pm)
  • Call: 0418 214 425
  • Bookings: only for weekdays for groups of 5+
  • Communal table sharing available
Busy barista
Busy barista

Signposted with a giant spoon with “Bread & Circus” written on it, this place has a large open kitchen with fruits, vegetables, jars, sacks, pots, and buckets decorating every possible space!

Open kitchen
Open kitchen

I love the atmosphere of this place – kind of like a farmer’s market combined with a candy shop. I’m quite sure that if I tried this at home, it would look like an absolute mess.

I say candy shop because the colour theme of B&C appears to be PINK. Usually this would seem tacky, but somehow they manage to use the colour to make the place look quite beautiful with pink homewares, shelves and menus.

Jars
Jars

The staff here are all smiles and seat us with table water and the menu at the end of a communal table which isn’t too crowded. All the tables here at large wooden tables, seating probably 10 people each.

Check out all these people!

Communal tables
Communal tables

B&C has daily changing menus, which are uploaded on their website! The food menu is quite wide ranging, with Breakfast separated into a “bread” section (covering things with bread/toast) and “things with fruit” section. Lunch is then separated into soups, salads, sandwich boxes and the “daily plates”.

I would have loved to try more of their menu, but we’re only here for afternoon tea, so we order:

Six hour organic chicken brown rice congee w/ chilli flakes white pepper and shallot - $10
Six hour organic chicken brown rice congee w/ chilli flakes white pepper and shallot – $14

This seems to be a standing item on the B&C menu and also one of their more well known dishes to try. What can I say? It’s very good and rather peppery – a nice big bowl (think 2-3 Chinese rice bowls) for only $14! You can also get it as a ‘side’ for $8 (not sure how big this is) or takeaway for $10.

Their drinks menu is also impressive. They have a page for a variety of teas, plus coffees, and freshly blended juices etc.

Juice
Juice

Juices are around $8. I can’t recall which one we ordered, but it was delicious and had a nice sour touch.

This place is nice table decorations. Perhaps an easier way to describe B&C is via comparison to the Paramount Coffee Project. PCP can be described as ‘beautiful’ – it’s white spaces, minimalist, crisp, modern, glass, clear. B&C is pastel, organic, homely, real.

Table decorations
Table decorations

Notes: the food and drink did take a while to come out. So it’s best to come when you’re up for some relaxation or have time to spare.

Also, it’s probably best to come in a small group where you don’t mind table sharing. Otherwise you’ll have a wait a while.

They also take credit card and offer email receipts, which I thought was a nice touch towards being ‘paper conscious’.

Deckchairs
Deckchairs

AND, you can also sit outside on these colourful deck chairs for relaxation and a dog-friendly afternoon. Unfortunately there’s a bit of construction going on the adjacent building at the moment so the view from the deckchairs isn’t great (you can see the fencing in the photo there).

All in all, this was a cool find that I definitely prefer over the overcrowded Grounds.

Bread & Circus on Urbanspoon

What else is around:

Le Pain Quotidien, The Rocks

If you head towards the very northern end of George Street, you end up in Circular Quay and The Rocks area: a neighbourhood that I frequent a lot and which is filled with alleyways and cobblestone paths. Located in the old Rocks Police Station is:

Le Pain Quotidien

  • Address: 127 George Street, The Rocks (in the old Police Station)
  • Web: http://www.lepainquotidien.com.au
  • Open: 8am – 9pm everyday
  • Call: (02) 9252 3840
  • Bookings: not really taken or necessary
  • Payment: takes cash and credit (Amex included).
  • Note, there is a (10%?) surcharge for weekends, which is a bit annoying.
Le Pain Quotidien
Le Pain Quotidien, The Rocks

LPQ set up shop in the old Rocks Police Station about a year ago. Described as a bakery and communal table, there’s actually 3 other LPQs in Sydney: Double Bay, Bondi and the City Westfields. LPQ is also international. However, we’ve only been to this one and I think it’s a bit more cool, because of what the building used to be: a police station. There’s lots of tables at LPQ. There’s alfresco dining on George Street (with red-white chairs that remind me of France) as well as tables out the back facing a cobblestone alley. Inside there’s a mix of small tables and the larger communal tables, which seat like 8 people. The idea of the communal tables is cool – you can come in a large group or share a table with strangers, all enjoying food together.

The prison rooms
The prison rooms

Further into LPQ is a hallway with prison cells on either sides. The former cells are now smaller dining areas, but they still have the old rusty prison doors (complete with a tiny window where I imagine the old prisoners used to peek out of). It’s actually pretty remarkable how they’ve transformed what was probably a dark, creepy prison into a welcoming and warm bakery/cafe! But they haven’t completely washed over the place either – you definitely still feel a bit like you could be under arrest, albeit with yummy food!

Food

Have a peek of the menu here. It’s a range of cafe fare – breakfast foods, salads, tartines (open sandwiches), soups and lots of baked goods. There’s a philosophy behind LPQ with using organic ingredients where possible. Aside from being an eat in cafe/restaurant – they are also a bakery! So they sell bread, pastries, jams, spreads and an array of other pantry items! We’re here for a light lunch, so we order:

Vegetable quiche
Vegetable quiche – approx $12

I order a vegetable quiche for around $12 (oddly their online menu has no prices) and it’s quite small/light. It’s about 10cm wide, but comes with a side of salad and baguette bread, so it’s filling.

Grilled Chicken with egg, avocado, bacon, blue cheese, egg and smoked tea vinaigrette
Grilled Chicken with egg, avocado, bacon, blue cheese, egg and smoked tea vinaigrette

D2D orders a grilled chicken salad. When it arrives, it is massive and has a strong blue cheese flavour to it. D2D only read the ‘chicken’ part and missed the blue cheese, but thankfully we’re both fine with eating some smelly blue cheese. This salad ALSO comes with a baguette bread and rye bread, with a spread. It seems every dish comes with bread! This is my kind of place. 🙂

Chardonnay
Chardonnay

The salads are around $20, but with the special of $22, comes with a glass of wine. I order an apple and ginger drink (chilled) – $5. This was really good. There’s tons of fresh ginger chopped up in there! This helped clear our breaths of blue cheese  I think.

IMG_1700
Apple and ginger juice – $5

Generally, the servings are LPQ are pretty generous! Even if it’s small (e.g. the quiche), there’s usually a side of salad and bread to complement it all. To emphasise how big it is, we came here another time and D2D ordered a large flat white. Their “large” was so large that it was served in a soup bowl! D2D drank it like soup.

Our tiny prison room
Our tiny prison room

What else is around:

Le Pain Quotidien on Urbanspoon

Sweet Street Bakery, Parramatta

In a way, I hesitate to write this post about the Sweet Street Bakery (SSB). Selfishly and secretly, I want to hide this cafe…lest it become too popular and just another expensive cafe.

Although I can’t really hide it. Given that it’s on a street corner right next to Parramatta train station.

Sweet Street Bakery

  • Address: Shop 17, 162-172 Church St, Parramatta NSW 2150
  • Cash only

Previously known as the Short Sweet Bakery, this store first appeared as a ‘pop up’ type of cafe. That was around early 2013. I can understand why it was a pop up though – the cafe is of the Surry Hills style, so it was bravely making a venture into the unknown customer needs and expectations of Parramatta.

20131126_124219
The Surry Hills-esque decor

As you can see – some typical Surry Hills-esque features: scrawling chalkboard menu, wooden tables topped with jars with flowers and random books. The decor is understated but hip and I’m particularly fond of the round wooden tables that resemble a giant thread spool!

The walls are also floor to ceiling glass, so you can do some people watching while you eat. There’s a few outdoor tables too.

What’s also noticeable is the service: the regular staff are friendly and seem to care about and love their job. Order is by walk up to the front counter, where you can see all the freshly baked pastries: pies, sausage rolls, sandwiches, cakes, cookies, breads and salads. Afterwards they bring the food to you, along with napkins and cutlery. Water is self service.

Our favourite here is the pie lunch deal: $10.

20131126_124301
Pie lunch deal – $10

The pies are a decent size and nicely puffed up. They have different pies all the time – I remember getting an African Lamb once! The pie deal is incredibly good value: you get a pie, two sides (choice of two salads or hot sides such as mashed peas/potatoes).  You also get a drink, and we usually get an organic one (from New Zealand):

20131126_124356
Organic lemonade and lemon lime bitters

I think what distinguishes the SSB from other cafes we’ve frequented is the price and ambience. Unlike a lot of cafes that become too trendy and expensive, this place has stayed rather cheap for a good lunch with a bit of variety and drink. It’s nice to visit a cafe that doesn’t cost $25 pp all up in the end. Secondly, it’s still relatively quiet! Well maybe not quiet, but at least you don’t have to wait half an hour to get a table.

Stay unknown SSB! Shhhh!

Sweet Street Bakery on Urbanspoon