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Pastries

It’s always sunny in Sydney, or at least that’s what the tourists are being sold before arriving to find they’ve been scammed by the weather gods in a good ol’ bait’n’switch. The incessant rain seems to have turned the world upside down and we’ve now all mastered the ability to look out at the horizon with our best “I smell something bad” expression.

Saturday morning brunch saw Aidan and I powering through another downpour and side stepping puddle-traps to reach the newly launched foodstore by the Chris Starke (ex Marque and the infamous Banc) who also runs Youeni Providores around the corner. The new cafe/eatery is cleverly positioned into the apex of number 8, enlivening a previously spartan space into a buzz of diners sharing blankets and table space.

We’re greeted by the crew and start off with a pot of soy chai and a bulging coffee (Ky’s description, not mine). Since the upside of bad weather is being able to dig in to hearty winter fare, we commit ourselves to the seasonal soup and the slow cooked beef cheeks.


Seasonal soup, toast, olive oil $10

The soup that afternoon was a combination of butter potatoes, kale, spinach and a giant pepper hit, finished off with a bit of olive oil, caramelised onions and a side of Sonoma toast. I felt I had OD’ed on pepper by the end but I noticed my body temperature had risen a few notches too.


Beef cheek, blacked caramalised onions, pomme puree, green salad $14

The beef cheeks were exclamation worthy – which explained why they were recommended with a satisfied grin. A soft smear and scoop of the fork produced a warming mouthful of beef and potato puree whilst a side of pea tendrils, blacked caramelised onions and cottage cheese gave the overall dish a nice crisp balance.

Far from a lack of ingenuity I felt the repeat use of key ingredients such as the pea tendrils and caralised onions served to only highlight a smart kitchen working with what’s in season and what they have at hand. And although the food was warming, it never veered into the “heavy” category.


Citrus curd tart $5

Pausing slightly after out meal, I eyed the baked treats paraded on the counter and eeny meeny miny mo-ed my way to a final citrus curd tart (we reasoned it must be easier to digest than the salted caramel chocolate option) with admirably short pastry.

Despite the slight mumble of chaos on their launch day, the passion the crew felt for food was tangible. They’re also keeping everything in the family and will have launched their own coffee blend by now, roasted by their friends down in Wollongong. They’re also planning to start baking their own bread and once licences and such are processed – open for dinner with a set menu focusing on the best produce of the moment.

As we waved goodbye, we shook hands with the crew and promised to see each other soon. Sometimes good things can happen in the rain.

4

The Verdict
Youeni Foodstore really works as a complimentary outfit to the providore – pushing their core belief in local organic produce and promoting food knowledge. The short menu provides enough variance to keep everyone intrigued whilst focusing on maximising in-season ingredients. If you make it in time for the breakfast hours then treat yourself to some slow cooked scrambled eggs or perhaps a caramalised ham and stewed apple sandwich for lunch and pop a tart in your pocket for later.

Youeni Foodstore
a. Shop 3, 8 Hill St, Surry Hills
t. 9380 7575
w. youeni.com + surryhills.youeni.com/

Youeni Foodstore on Urbanspoon

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I’ve kept this hidden for a few months now, but I think it’s time to air out my secret and come clean. I think I’ve found the best sausage roll in Sydney. Sure, it’s a big claim and I’m being rather brash, swinging it out there and all that but I’m convinced the butchers of La Macelleria have managed to perfect this Aussie icon.

Now I know that fans of Bourke Street Bakery might protest and I do love their beautiful rendition with aromatic fennel and who can turn down a lamb shank pie from Black Star or a vegetable quiche from La Banette? But for me, the Bondi butchers currently hold residence on the first-place dais.


Clockwise: Yellow Berkel slicers, Panini, Glasseye Creek Wild Meat Sauce, Salumin and Cheese menu board

This up market Italian butchery opened late last year under the care of Maurice Terzini and Robert Marchetti: if these two seem familiar it’s because they’re the guys behind the Bondi institution Icebergs, North Bondi Italian Food and the new Nield Avenue. Never ones to fall short of a dazzling fit out, La Marcelleria’s a lovely clash of traditional (black and white tiles and chalkboards) with the urban (neon type), populated by organic, locally sourced meat and home made salumi. Everything is lovingly shown off, dangling in glass cabinets or artfully arranged in bowls and baskets. If you’re interested they have a rotisserie with organic chickens and stuffed spatchcocks, meat drippings and thick gravy as well as a panini bar, or perhaps you can ask one of the staff in spotless white smocks to shave you some salumi or freshly mince a cut of meat for you to take home and prepare yourself.


Footlong Berkshire Pork sausage roll $12.95

We were merely peckish and thought to give the Berkshire foot-long sausage roll a try. Jen and I sat by Bondi beach to halve the gleaming sesame and poppy seed speckled log; the pork was fresh and intensely meaty with little moments of flaky pastry breaking through each mouthful. I have to admit we initially broke the roll into three but seeing as the third person was running late and it was just too good we shared the third person’s portion and hope she’d never find out what she missed out on.


Sauced up: the money shot

Only the promise of immediate dinner stayed our hand from reaching into our wallets to buy another. Yes it was that good!

The Verdict
A thoughtful Italian upmarket butcher situated next to Bondi beach means a perfect place to stock up your wicker basket and stroll down the beach for a picnic. The staff are well informed and can give you detailed information about where your meat was grown or processed as well as the origins and styles of the products in their salumi bar. Whilst the prices may seem a bit steep this is organic, sustainable meat at its best. Get your 12 inches of heaven right here ladies.

Let me know if you have a ‘best of’ recommendation.

La Marcelleria
t. 9300 6388
a. Shop 14, The Beach House, 178 Campbell Parade Bondi Beach
e. info(at)italianbutcherbondi.com
w. http://www.italianbutcherbondi.com

La Marcelleria on Urbanspoon

Uh-oh, I start madly punching away at the shutter button but to no avail, dead battery means no more photos for the day (this would not a big deal for normal people unless you were a photo whore like me).

We were at Black Star Pastry, and due to very limited seating we partook in 5 minutes of musical chairs before trading up to a cushioned spot in the window bay. As we settled down the large crowd started to thin out: a mark of the end of lunch period (these rules clearly don’t apply to us). The tiny bakery slash cafe opened three years ago by Christopher Thé (of Quay, Claude’s and Sonoma fame) has an assortment of cakes and breads on display in charming wood framed cabinets and glass cake stands. With pies, baguettes, tarts and macarons on offer, Queenie and I were forced into deep discussion for a few minutes before finally settling on our order.


Bowls of croissants on the busy counter top

At this point my camera had decided this was the perfect time for a nap, I spent a while madly rubbing the battery between my palms and thankfully managed to coax another few frames from the lethargic device.


Chicken & Avocado Sandwich

Since neither of us was extremely hungry we decided to share a chicken sandwich (pies, we figured were too difficult to share *sad face*). The sandwich turned out to be huge with the simple combination of poached chicken, rocket and avocado lying snug within two slices of soft white. Somehow the fresh bread and luscious chicken combo was strangely addictive: it disappeared rather quickly.


Strawberry and watermelon cake with rose cream

We were vain admirers of aesthetics and chose the prettiest cakes to go with our coffee and chai. First in line was Black Star’s signature Strawberry Watermelon cake with Rose cream. Deliciously light and feminine with the sweetness of the rose-water and fresh watermelon seeping through the cream and almond dacquoise. If you’re interested in recreating this for a fancy party (or a very special party of one) then Gourmet Traveller and Chef The has published the recipe online as part of ‘fare exchange’.


A few frames from my sardine can lomo, the DIY toast station

The next victim was another signature offer from Thé: Orange Cake with Persian Fig and Quince with a few dried flower petals and slivers of pistachio crowning the mini cake. I found this to be the hollywood blonde sister; very beautiful but lacking complexity within, the cake was denser than I imagined with a strong citrus taste but the quince and fig flavours didn’t seem to carry through.


Blueberry doughnut and the Orange cake with Persian fig and quince

Our last choice was a blueberry doughnut. Admittedly I didn’t get much time to savour my half before inhaling the sugar-coated pillow, a burst of blueberry filling sliding down my throat as we suddenly stared at the naked plates.

4

The verdict
A cute-as-pie pastry shop situated in a relatively quiet nook of Newtown. All items are well priced and include a lot of unique signature items from chef Thé. Worth coming back to try a few more of their delectable pyramid-shaped lemon meringues, lamb shank pies and ginger ninjas. Can be hard to find a seat during peak hour but lucky for all us late risers they’re open until 5pm.

Black Star Pastry
a. 277 Australia St Newtown
t. 9557 8656
w. www.blackstarpastry.com.au

Black Star Pastry on Urbanspoon