Monday, July 14, 2008

Bourke Street Bakery (aka, The Inside Man)..

Em was a girl, Tom was a boy, they met and fell in love. They both have reddish tinges to their hair, so it's definitely meant to be. We were all happy for the lovely emily when we met this new boyfriend of hers, but kindhearted, selfless joy at the well deserved happiness of another soon gave way to evil, selfish glee when I discovered that the red headed Tom has a weekend gig at the Bourke Street Bakery. I've been to this delightful little culinary punctuation mark many, many times, but never with someone on the inside. It was so good I just had to tell you all about it.

Tarts. Luscious, scrumptous, dense, beautifully irregular, precious little tarts. Tarts with creme brulee. Tarts with chocolatey berryness. Tarts with creamy lemon. Tarts. Pudgey tarts touching one another in little cardboard boxes with snug fitting lids. Tarts. Stick-your-finger-in-now-and-lick-it-quick kind of tarts. Tarts. Not slick looking, over sugared, cookie cutter, perfectly shaped tarts. Real tarts, tarts with character and personality, salt of the earth type tarts, enveloped in coy, dark pastry, the kind thats nutty and rich, not the light fluffy stuff that smacks of poor quality. Tarts. Marie-Antoinette type tarts, with dreamy, creamy luscious tops, or carmelised tops burnt in little pastiches of toffeed, ebony perfection. Tarts. They've just got so much soul. Seriously, the tarts here are the only religious experience you can have in Sydney for about $3.50, so get converted.
Slices of perfect pizza. A little sharp cheese. Robust tomato. Basil that sings. Olives that smart. Toppings soaking into square bases of chewy, crisp edged texture heaven. Soups. Hearty, warm, rich. Carrot cake slices. Flourless chocolate cake. Pork and Fennel sausage rolls. Meat pies. Luscious sandwiches filled with beautiful, simple ingredients.
Crisp Croissants shyly peeking out of wholesome brown paper bags. Mouth watering bundles of organic sourdough that beseech you to pickmepickme through the glass as you line up on a cold, wintry Sydney day in your big coat and red woollen gloves to receive your little paper wrapped packet of warm, baked loveliness.
And the hot Chocolate, you ask? - the gentlest of warm, sunken surrenders. Beautifully made, a rich, real Belgian chocolate, sweet, but sweetness tempered by a sinking depth. It's all you really need in life. Why have just a cup, when you can experience a whole ambrosial bowl. Yes. A bowl of steaming cacoa barry hot chocolate. Those of you who are looking for fulfillment in your careers and relationships honestly might want to look here instead.
And as if they weren't already a perfect example of a Sydney bakery/cafe on taste alone, this place perfectly captures the feel a good cafe should. It's cloistered, welcoming, cosy, comfortable, wooden and tactile, set up perfectly for people watching and running into friends. It's busy and bustling, still, a perfect place to sit alone and write or read. The lines go a good way around the corner on weekends. But it's got such a pleasant air to it all the same. I've never really minded lining up here, (not that I plan to any more, Mr Tom!), the wait is always well rewarded. They have more seats outside than they used to. Sadly, the council made them get rid of the crates that people used to perch and scoff on that looked so gosh, darn cool, but the place still feels like a little piece of Melbourne or Paris in Surry Hills.
This place is a beautiful medley of both the simple and the creative. You'll find a great plain baugette and meat pie. But for those adventurous palates, rye and caraway sourdough (from the wet levain school of sourdough) and pork and fennel sausages will satisfy your culinary quirks. And great coffee to boot. A consistently brilliant bakery. On the rare occasions that I do decide to extend an armistice to my long time nemesis, gluten, this is where I do it. I am yet to visit the Broadway outlet, but it's nice to have things to aspire to in life.
Dan, Kat, Em, Dave and Imo all had a sweet time relaxing and tarting themselves into little groans of Sunday morning pleasure on two tables outside. It was that highly agreeable mix of great food, rich coffee, papers, languid pauses and idle chatter. Tom was the perfect gentleman, managing to take care of us and serve a steady, hungry line of sleepy people. Owners Paul Allam and David McGuinness use mostly organic ingredients, and don't charge you the earth for the little pieces of heavenly art that they create with them.
Here's to Em, Tom and Tarts..I should've saved that for wedding toast.

At: Cnr of Devonshire and Bourke Streets, Surry Hills.
Ph: 9699 1011.


Katie said...

you are just too cute Miss Bechara... I love the way you write and I adore you ever so much.

amanda said...

look who's talking! now i just need to HEAR you say that in your kiwi speak xx.