Our judges hand down the final verdict on Australia’s best bakeries and dessert bars.
From cracking sourdough to decadent doughnuts and the ultimate croissant, we’ve compiled our panel of delicious. experts’ verdict on Australia’s best bakeries, dessert bars and patisseries
Looks are one thing, but it’s what’s inside that counts, especially if you’re talking about our latest croissant crush. Yep, it’s official. Stuffed croissants are the best thing since sliced bread. Ironic, considering sliced bread doesn’t cut it anymore; we’d prefer a sourdough or dark rye miche, thanks.
A cross section of the stuffed croissant reveals a coloured strata of flavours. Think: the Gold Coast’s Bam Bam Bakehouse’s twice-baked Mint Slice version, and Oakridge chef Jo Barrett’s cheeky ‘Toad in a Cro’ sausage croissant. And that’s just in Australia. Further afield, New York’s Union Fare is dishing up a lobster croissant roll, while French master baker Gontran Cherrier’s Tokyo outpost has a matcha-streaked version that’s baked into a cube.
But croissants with kooky fillings aren’t the only jaw-dropping thing bakin’ disbelief. Here’s our list of the best bakeries and patisseries rising to the occasion across New South Wales and Victoria.
NEW SOUTH WALES
We need to talk about Flour and Stone’s (53 Riley St, Woolloomooloo) fine apple tart. Slivers of apple, layered like fallen dominos on a vanilla custard and puff pastry base. You don’t need another reason to make the trip, but there’s much more to baker Nadine Ingram’s offering to keep you coming back, and we’re obsessed with her sell-out panna cotta-soaked lamington.
Black Star Pastry (277 Australia St, Newtown; 85-113 Dunning Ave, Rosebery; The Galeries, 500 George St, Sydney) may produce one of Australia’s most Instagrammed desserts – hello layered watermelon cake – but there’s more to try. The lamb and red wine pie is a puffed parcel filled with organic, free-range braised lamb shank.
Lorraine Godsmark’s lemon tart at her Lorraine’s Patisserie (320 George St, Sydney) is a puddle of lemon curd encased in a puff pastry bowl, known to run down your hand if you attack it too greedily. Her mascarpone cake is layered coconut dacquoise and strawberries, the top slightly blow torched, and she’s rightly famous for her date tart, too.
Some of our best chefs swear Iggy’s Bread (131 Macpherson St, Bronte) is the best in Sydney, and who could argue? Baker Igor Ivanovic has been baking his lustworthy loaves for more than a decade in his popular Bronte bakery, and the love and attention to detail is in every bite. From the naturally leavened, peasant-style wholewheat loaf to the New York-style dark rye and bagels, Iggy’s makes all your bread dreams come true. For something different, try the fluffy olive buns – they’re special.
The love for Kate Reid’s Lune (119 Rose St, Fitzroy) only rises, like the air in her cult pastries – this issue’s cover stars – lovingly made over three days and snapped up in minutes. Join the queue or book an experimental degustation as you watch the magic happen in the temperature-controlled glass cube, aka Lune Lab. Matt Preston votes this his number one: “I can’t resist Lune for their croissant perfection to be eaten exactly 10 minutes after they come out of the oven.” A city store is imminent.
Noisette (84 Bay St, Port Melbourne; 412 Centre Rd, Bentleigh) supplies many of Melbourne’s best cafes with the bread that becomes the toast for the avocado that’s dashing the property dreams of millennials, but it’s worth going straight to the source for their excellent French baguette. Meanwhile, Baker D. Chirico (178 Faraday St, Carlton; 149 Fitzroy St, St Kilda; 183 Domain Rd, South Yarra) remains one of Melbourne’s first and best artisan bakeries. Founder Daniel Chirico’s signatures include hand-crafted sourdough, sugar-dusted bomboloni and, at Easter, hot cross buns.
You could come to Tivoli Road Bakery (3 Tivoli Rd, South Yarra) for Michael James’ cracking-crusted sourdough, and many do just that. But, when she’s in town, delicious. Editor-in-chief Kerrie Mccallum comes for the sausage rolls – you’d be a fool not to pick up James’ pork, apple and fennel sausage roll. You could also come for the morning bun – croissant dough tin-baked, dusted in orange sugar and piped with custard.
After time at Noma and Vue du Monde, Matt Forbes’ cafe, Cobb Lane (13 Anderson St, Yarraville), is where he turns out the city’s finest custard-filled doughnuts with becoming combos such as coconut and kaffir lime.
It’s the Lolly Bag cake, cooked on Masterchef, that put Bernard Chu’s Luxbite (38 Toorak Rd, South Yarra) on the map of every sweet tooth. With seven layers of milk bar memories, this was Chu’s way of incorporating Asian flavours with French technique for an Aussie audience, and it worked. Desserts have an Asian inflection, and include pandan sponge filled with kaya (Malaysian coconut jam) cream as well as matcha cheesecake.
French-trained Christy Tania made her name at Melbourne’s first dessert restaurant, Om Nom, and later as a Masterchef regular. Now, her first solo venture, Glace (1A Peel St, Windsor), is ground zero for her fab frozen desserts, such as ice cream cookie sandwiches.
SWEET SURRENDER Melbourne’s Tivoli Road ...