Picture this. It is 2004 and two bakers, Paul Allam and David McGuinness decided to open up their own bakery. Quaint and full of life, the bakery is encompassed by the smell of freshly baked bread and an assortment of cakes. 12 years later, not much has changed, as the bakery is still the place to go if you love a good, hearty meal. While they have opened up branches throughout Sydney, we visited the original bakery which resides on, you guessed it, Bourke Street in Surry Hills.
Tables are dotted along Devonshire Street (at the corner of Bourke Street) as people from all walks of life sat down and indulged in good, fresh food. As I sat on the window seat inside the cosy space, the staff approached every customer as a friend they hadn’t seen for a long time. People from across Sydney and also from France, Germany, Greece and other parts of the world all came to Bourke Street Bakery not minding the queue that stretched down the street. It’s always been obvious as to why – the consistency in quality and the uniqueness of flavours speaks volumes – but the staff here, are the definition of good customer service.
At $4.80, the sausage rolls are well priced as they’re all generously plump with the most incredible flaky pastry. Personally, I don’t eat pork but Bourke Street Bakery’s pork and fennel sausage roll is a classic, and one that has proven to be very popular.
Lamb, Almond & Harissa Sausage Roll
Not your average sausage roll, the lamb sausage roll has a Middle Eastern slant from the use of harissa and almonds. With each bite, the taste of almond becomes more apparent but the hero of the dish is still the melt-in-your-mouth lamb.
Chicken, Pumpkin & Tarragon Sausage Roll
The unconventional chicken sausage roll is a hearty choice for those seeking the comforts of a roast dinner. The pumpkin allowed for the flavours to become balanced, as the sweetness offset the bitterness of the tarragon.
Eggplant, Spinach, Chick Pea & Feta Sausage Roll
Vegetarians unite! Bourke Street bakery caters for vegetarians also, and they have proved that the absence of meat doesn’t compromise on flavor. Served fresh and warm, the fusion of the vegetables was a melt in your mouth delicacy. Feta cheese provided a salty taste, alongside the cooked vegetables which had a texture that fit into the category of ‘just right’.
The pies, priced at $5.50, are available in three variants: beef, chicken and vegetarian.
Beef Brisket, Red Wine & Mushroom Pie
A spin on your classic Aussie beef pie, Bourke St Bakery have hit all the right notes with the wine aficionados. The cut of the brisket combined with the wine and mushroom results in a pie you cannot buy from any ol’ bakery. The base of the pie is tender while the top remains crispy and golden. The pie is served warm, and makes for a great lunch option now that the weather is cooling down. The pie will take you back to your Nonna’s kitchen, as you will reminisce about comfort food and good memories.
Chicken, Sweet Potato, Pea & Lime Pickle Pie
Right, so this one is for the sweet and sour lovers out there. As always, the chicken is cooked perfectly, and the sour taste of the lime pickle is paired beautifully with the sweet potato. Tied it together is the sesame seeds sitting on top of the crust, which gave a crunchy element to an already winner of a dish. This one is not only for lovers of chicken, but for those who want to try something different and expand their palate.
From croissants to cakes, tarts and cookies, every element at Bourke Street Bakery nails the basic essence of what makes each item so irresistible.
You have one croissant and you think you had them all until you try the croissant from Bourke Street Bakery. For me, the perfect croissant needs to be generous in size, soft in the centre and not too flaky on top. This is exactly that. As you rip the croissant in portions, it’s a feeling of satisfaction as you see the folds of buttery pastry come apart flawlessly. The inside of the croissant is soft and moist, while the outside is a golden brown just asking to be eaten. This croissant puts all croissants to shame.
Chocolate Cake Slice
Okay, so as a chocoholic and cake fiend this is heaven on a plate for me. This chocolate cake skipped the fancy icings and decorations, but the taste is divine. While I prefer my cakes to have a layer of ganache, buttercream and basically every unhealthy ingredient in existence, this is a nice surprise. If you’re a fan of moist cakes, then this is the one to try as it melts in your mouth, and since the chocolate is so rich, you don’t miss the icing and fancy décor.
Dark Chocolate and Sour Cherry Cookie
When it comes to cookies I mostly just grab the ones from Subway, but every time I’ve had one, I’ve been left wanting more. Bourke Street Bakery prepares absolutely massive cookies so one would be enough to satisfy your cravings (if not, then I won’t judge if you have another). The chocolate is combined with a hit of sour cherry which is the first element you taste as you take a bite, and as you continue chewing the chocolate comes through and creates a flavour that ordinary cookies just don’t have. As I personally like my cookies chewy, it’s as if they made it personally for me. Just the right amount of chewiness, and who can say no to chocolate cookies?
Ginger Brulee Tart
The Bourke Street favourite. You honestly cannot take a trip to Bourke Street Bakery and not try the ginger brulee tart ($5.50). Just one Google search of said tart and Bourke Street Bakery is what dominates the first page. This tart isn’t just an iconic Sydney dessert, it also has a story behind it, as Paul Allam had the idea come to him as he travelled through the Indian Himalayas. The ginger, spices and the confetti of pistachios sitting on top leaves you desperate for more, as you realise why this is the dish to try at Bourke Street Bakery. If you only go to try one dish, this is one you need to go for.
It’s easy to see how this iconic Sydney bakery has earned all its stars as a much loved neighbourhood boulangerie. To find a branch closest to you, visit: bourkestreetbakery.com.au
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Bourke Street Bakery