Bourke Street Bakery

Posted on August 29, 2013

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Severely lacking in funds for an overseas adventure this year, the only respite I could afford was some time away in Sydney. We were already on an excellent start when Sydney greeted me with beautiful blue skies and a very mild winter’s day – perfect escape from Melbourne’s grey skies.

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So what’s a Melbourne girl to do when she has some leisure time in a rival city? Check out the competition, the food kind, of course! And where better than the super popular Bourke Street Bakery (633 Bourke Street, Surry Hills NSW).

Such is its fame that Melbournians love posting photos of their brunching at said bakery when visiting Sydney. Now 9 years on from when it opened its doors in Surry Hills, Bourke Street Bakery has spawned 4 additional stores across Sydney. Being a bit of a purist, I ventured to their original shop. I have to admit Bourke Street Bakery was a little different to what I expected. Not having done any research into the place, I had thought it would be a cafe/bakery with more seating and cooked to order breakfast and brunch items. Probably something similar to Melbourne’s Chez Dre or Laurent. But it wasn’t anything like that at all. It quite literally is a bakery and the only thing made to order here is the coffee ($3.30, a pretty good coffee at that). The venue itself is quite a small, with most of the seating out on the pavement and limited seating indoors. Actually I can’t imagine it being comfortable seated indoors if there’s a queue at the register, and I believe there tends to be queues here. Good thing I was here on a weekday!

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The selves and cabinets are jam packed with baked yums. There’s an impressive array of different types of breads and pastries. The hot food on offer includes the bakery staples of pies and sausage rolls as well as a range of quiches and pizzas. They also have a daily selection of fresh sandwiches.

The pork and fennel sausage roll ($4.50) is a menu favourite and was an obvious choice to sample. This was tasty, the pastry was flaky and the filling was quite flavoursome. But if I’m being brutally honest, I can’t say it was anything special either. It is good, but surely this is not worthy of having a cult status. Let’s just say I wouldn’t necessarily go back to Bourke Street Bakery for this. Or to put it in a nicer way, this sausage roll alone is not worth a non local’s effort to travel out of the city for. If I was a Sydneysider, then perhaps I would.

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What I would definitely go back for is the ginger crème brûlée tart ($5).

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This little pastry was divine. Everything about it was perfect. Let’s just go through all the elements of this tart shall we? Firstly, the most important thing; yes the brûlée had the requisite crack when you hit it with a spoon. The custard was rich and velvety with subtle hints of ginger and spice throughout, 10/10 for flavour. And the tart base? This is the bit that I normally wouldn’t even care about, but as it turns out, it was the best tart shell I’ve had. This tart is a winner on all counts.

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From my little glimpse, I can see why Bourke Street Bakery is a favourite amongst locals. The pricing is reasonable, service is friendly, and both the coffee and food is good. But for interstate or overseas visitors, I suspect the winning picks are in their pastry selections. My only regret is not having sampled any more of their sweet treats or getting a second ginger crème brûlée tart. I had secretly hoped for another visit, but alas time slipped away from me. Is it justifiable to visit Sydney again just for a ginger crème brûlée tart..?

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