It’s a warm sunny morning when Juji, Jay and I visit Bourke Street Bakery. We see the crowd long before we get close enough to peek inside. The queue keeps snaking around the corner as more people arrive riding bicycles, on foot and with very polite dogs trotting along on leashes. We’re all eager to get through that tiny doorway into the brown brick building that’s bursting with delectable sweet and savoury pastries, crusty bread, gourmet sandwiches and freshly brewed coffee. The croissants and loaves of bread are pure food porn in the window marked with my nose print.
The staff behind the counter are super efficient and serve the customers quickly. We feel the pressure to be just as efficient in our part of the transaction so we won’t slow the system down. But once at the front counter there are so many delicious things to look at, so many to choose from. If you’re a fan of Bourke Street Bakery, what’s your favourite item?
We get a lucky break and manage to grab the only free table along the wall, in the shade. There is a park across the road but it feels like we’re having a picnic right here as we pass around napkins and eat off brown paper bags on a well worn wooden table.
When I visit a bakery for the first time, I always order my favourite pastry item, a chicken pie.
Bourke Street Bakery’s chicken pie is filled with chunks of chicken, sweet potato, peas and the special magic ingredient of lime pickle, all in a light tomato-based sauce, a fresh tasty change to the thick gloppy white sauce fillings you often find in chicken pies. The pie looks wonderfully handmade, with just the right bumps and ridges in the pastry and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. It feels right to break it apart with my hands and take big, hearty bites.
Juji and Jay order two items to share. First, a toasted ham and cheese croissant. It’s been toasted in a sandwich press and looks like it’s been flattened by a steamroller but the pastry is beautifully light, flaky and buttery.
Juji and Jay also share a pear danish – slices of sweet tender pear on top of vanilla custard in pastry sprinkled with icing sugar.
Jay enjoys a strong creamy coffee while Juji and I have fresh orange and lemon juices.
It’s absolutely packed inside the small shop. There are a few tables and chairs inside next to the window. It’s probably cosy in winter but might get a bit stuffy on a warm spring or hot summer’s day with the constant crowd sharing the tiny space.
Although Bourke Street Bakery has expanded to three other stores around Sydney I’m sure Surry Hills remains the sentimental favourite of its most ardent fans.
If I lived in Sydney I’d be steadily working my way through Bourke Street Bakery’s menu. Are you lucky enough to have an awesome bakery in your neighbourhood?
Bourke Street Bakery
633 Bourke Street (corner of Devonshire Street)
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Telephone: (02) 9699 1011
Monday to Friday 7am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday 8am to 5pm
The Surry Hills store is the original bakery with the Bourke Street address. There are also Bourke Street Bakery stores in Alexandria, Marrickville and Potts Point (see website for details).
There’s a Bourke Street Bakery book too.
My Sydney trip (2011)
See Juji’s post about Breakfast at Bourke Street Bakery.
Congratulations to the winners of the Eat. Drink. Blog. 2011 Photo Competition!