The Bak­ery rises to the oc­ca­sion

Sunday Herald Life - - CONTENTS - Joanna Blyth­man

IT’S cu­ri­ous, isn’t it, how you don’t have some­thing for years, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing no sense of de­pri­va­tion what­ever, then all of a sud­den the thing you lacked be­comes ab­so­lutely essential.

Be­fore the Bak­ery By Zique opened in Glas­gow, I don’t imag­ine the res­i­dents of Laud­erdale Gar­dens sat around wist­fully wish­ing they had an ar­ti­san bak­ery on the cor­ner of their street. This is Glas­gow’s cos­mopoli­tan west end; a light stretch of the legs will take you to a shop sell­ing prod­ucts that earn the “real bread” de­scrip­tion.

In this area, you aren’t con­demned to eat technopap. But few aro­mas are as se­duc­tive as fresh baked bread. Proper bread, once you iden­tify it as such, be­comes com­pelling. There’s no go­ing back to that bagged stuff that’s rem­i­nis­cent of loft in­su­la­tion, or the pow­dery, short-life, su­per­mar­ket “in­store” of­fer­ings that im­per­son­ate the gen­uinely rus­tic, hand­made ar­ti­cle.

The new Bak­ery By Zique is a small busi­ness mir­a­cle. Far from hav­ing to build up trade, I’m vaguely fret­ting that it will man­age to sat­isfy the ap­par­ently vo­ra­cious ap­petite for its prod­ucts that it has un­cov­ered.

We ar­rive at 12.45pm on a Satur­day to shelves stacked with three types of freshly baked loaves, a long, broad counter over a dis­play cabi­net, both packed with par­al­lel lines of cakes and savouries. By 1.15pm the place looks as if it’s been raided.

Pha­lanxes of baked goods have been frog­marched out the door. We bag the last sour­dough loaf to take home, much to the dis­ap­point­ment of the man in the queue be­hind us.

The en­thu­si­asm and ef­fi­ciency with which the shelves are cleared is a less fran­tic ver­sion of the bread queues in tur­bu­lent coun­tries when word gets out that the shops have got stock. And we make our own lit­tle con­tri­bu­tion to the short­age, as we work our way through the baked de­lights from savoury to sweet.

To have a suc­cess­ful food oper­a­tion you only have to do one thing bril­liantly well and peo­ple will come flock­ing to your door. Here at the Bak­ery By Zique, the pork sausage roll plays that pied piper role. Who doesn’t like sausage rolls? Even the bad ones. But these are in a league of their own. Ac­tu­ally, they’re not very sausagey, more unc­tu­ous shred­ded pork than force­meat, and their flaky pas­try is a dream; none of that gooey, flabby, white in­ner skin … just a dry, but­tery puff gen­tly en­clos­ing suc­cu­lent meat. You can see why hav­ing one of these as a Satur­day treat would be­come ab­so­lutely essential.

Our other savouries – a veg­etable frit­tata, pep­pers stuffed with lamb cous­cous – strug­gle to com­pete. Un­like the sausage roll, they’re not go­ing to drag you out your bed of a week­end. As a sym­bolic ges­ture to plant food and health, we drink a green juice, made with peas, spinach, mint, cu­cum­ber, ap­ple, and lime, that’s pleas­ingly un-sweet. The only wrong note is sip­ping it through a plas­tic straw, the sort that Green­peace re­minds us of­ten washes up on beaches.

If you’re go­ing to have a sweet thing, this is a good place to do it. The di­men­sions are sane; not the su­per-sized mu­tants that are cur­rently en­joy­ing their day in the sun. And Zique’s cakes are re­fresh­ingly adult; noth­ing is sickly. This is an ic­ing and frost­ing-free zone. In­gre­di­ents are ex­pen­sive – nuts, good choco­late, fresh fruit, but­ter – no cloy­ing pad­ding. So there’s a fresh fig, and a daub of a vivid com­pote (blue­berry?) topped with golden al­mond flakes, dis­gorg­ing its ripe juices into flaky pas­try that shat­ters on the lips. A dainty pis­ta­chio fi­nancier has just a hint of al­mond, its moist but­tery depths squidgy with eggs and ground nuts.

Then there are the in­di­vid­ual rasp­berry Bakewell tarts, but­tery “pate brisée” en­cas­ing al­mond frangi­pane and soft baked berries.

Or the brownie, of the un­cloy­ing sort, ab­so­lutely loaded with hazel­nuts. In the choco­late de­part­ment, a so­phis­ti­cated dark choco­late and rasp­berry “bou­chon”, and the white choco­late and pas­sion­fruit cheese­cake are above re­proach.

Cru­cially, ev­ery­thing is baked freshly that day. So, as we see with our own eyes, when it’s gone, it’s gone. No won­der there’s a flurry in Laud­erdale Gar­dens.


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