The Great British Bake Off, Sugar Rush, Zumbos Just Desserts. Yup! Millions of us are obsessed with baking and sweet things. It is the food equivalent of a Paris couture fashion show, the epitome of craft, creativity and desire. If we could wear a macaroon cardigan and a black forest mini cake fascinator we would.
Whilst Sydney has a number of iconic bakeries and patisseries, the CBD doesn’t have a top tier bakery. So we are clapping our chocolate cookies together in happiness that Banksia Bakehouse has opened its oven doors in Grosvenor Place.
If you eat with your eyes then this the a degustation which never ends. First thing we notice is the HUGE window display (it’s the biggest bakehouse window in Australia). You could start an interesting cake competition – just how many cronuts can you fit in this space… mmm?? It’s at this point that the stars of the show become apparent – the open plan design allows you to watch the team cook, create, smear and dab before your eyes. It’s like watching Picasso at work but at monumental scale, who has ever seen a bucket of chocolate cream that big? This is no ordinary shop, these are no ordinary chefs, (the founders also own Passiontree Velvet) and it delivers an extraodinary experience.
The range is mind boggling from cupcakes such as Nutella, red velvet, flourless, lemon pound, orange poppy seed. Then there are scones, cookies. Mini cakes include lemon meringue tarts, cheesecakes, carrot cakes, tiramisu eclair. Then the big guns the celebration cakes which will feed a small army or a socially distanced office!
What we really want to talk about is what is flying out the door faster than you can say ‘Granny Smith’ – its the Apple Delight. This social media starlet is just so darn pretty this its perfectly glossy mirror-like skin, so reflective we can touch up our makeup. Cut inside and ooooohhh its golden centre is a cinnamon spiced apple compote (made from Granny Smiths), surrounded by smooth vanilla cream, coated in white chocolate with a crisp sable cookie base (made from gluten free and almond flour). The little stem is a curl of chocolate. This is the best (not) an apple pie we have had in years! So move over Blackstar Pastry watermelon cake, Sydney has a new cake hero its the Apple Delight.
Its not all sweet things. In fact this is their super power. A warm cabinet of pies has already been smashed by the lunch time crowd. Fortunately there is one mushroom stroganoff left. Oh my! Rich golden flaky pastry gives way to an oozy moody slow cooked sauce jumbled with whole mushrooms. Its so good its like KFC – finger lickin good. The quiches (opt for bacon and tomato or mushroom and spinach) have a similar effect on this writer. The pastry is dreamy; its rich, crumbly, has good structure and the creamy filling is all the better for off the smokey bacon. Feeling like something more substantial? Then the ciabatta sandwiches will hit the spot. Chicken & pesto is great, but it is the mushroom (again) that wins. Slowly roasted Portobello Mushroom is paired with rocket and caramelised onion relish each bite is enhanced with tart goats cheese. This is their signature sandwich.
Then there are the croissants. We will try not to geek out too much but these babies have taken months of experimentation to get right. Pepe Sayer butter makes this a good ‘sustainable/local’ choice. It’s everything a croissant should be but never is. Golden, crispy, those dark layers are a few centimetres deep so its holds it’s shape, inside are hundreds of air bubbles creating a honeycomb of chewy texture and then the flavour it spot on. Savoury, toasty, buttery. Its well. Just yum.
So savoury or sweet, hungry/not hungry this is a spot you need to take a detour for. We may not be back in the city for work, but this may now give you an incentive. Get your camera ready! its impossible not to show off with a top tier bakery this good.
Grosvenor Place, 225 George St, Sydney, 2000
Hours: Mon – Fri 7:30am – 4:30pm