Bourke Street Bakery

633 Bourke St, Surry Hills (Sydney)
Phone: (02) 9699 1011

The last of my Sydney posts (for now)is about the Bourke Street Bakery. My cousin took me there after breakfast at Fifi Foveaux’s, so we weren’t really hungry. But it was on my to-do list, and it was just down the road from where he lives in Surry Hills, so we thought we’d head down anyway.

Apparently the Bourke Street Bakery is now a chain, with other outlets in Ultimo and Marrickville. But as with most places which branch out, the original is often the best. This place is still so good that people line up around the corner just to get their baked wares, and like us, eat them in the park across the road!

Having read about the pork and fennel sausage rolls on Claire’s blog months ago, I didn’t really need to read what was on offer on the board, or peruse the baked goods for very long. My cousin similarly recommended the pork and fennel sausage rolls, so the choice was pretty much made for me.
I’d also seen these little beauties on Claire’s post, and being a big ginger fan, couldn’t go past them.
The sausage roll didn’t disappoint. The photo doesn’t really do it justice, but trust me when I say this is about three cuts above your average sausage roll. There’s virtually no flour/breadcrumb filler, so you don’t get that pasty texture, and instead there’s the firm springiness of real mince. The flavour is phenomenal, and the pastry was rich and flaky. It reminded me of a patechaud/pateso, only substitute the pepper for fennel.
I should note that I managed to get the recipe for these sausage rolls from a friend who has the cookbook, and have since made them at home. I just used store-bought pastry, but they turned out spectacularly well!
The ginger brulee tart was wonderfully sweet and the custard filling was smooth, though I would have liked a little more of a ginger bite. The brulee top was light and thin, but perfectly crunchy.
If you’re ever in Sydney, get thee to a Bourke Street bakery!

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Il Fornaio

2 Acland St, St Kilda
Phone: 9534 2922
http://www.ilfornaio.net.au/

After some morning shopping at the farmer’s market with Penny (@jeroxie) and her Mister, we stopped in at Il Fornaio for a late brunch. I was quite excited, because I still remember my dinner at Ondine many years ago – the oysters five ways in particular – and I was keen to see what Philippa Sibley’s take on a bakery cafe would be.

I’m going to start with the positives. The place was bustling when we arrived, and we luckily got a seat by the window. I ordered the blood sausage frittata.

Never having had blood sausage before, it was something of a revelation. The sausage in the frittata was tasty and dense. I could have dealt with more caramelised onions, and the egg was a little rubbery, however. Thankfully, the relish on the side held the dish together, which otherwise would have been pretty dry.

Penny, a black pudding veteran, ordered the black pudding with poached eggs, which looked delightfully gooey. I think the whole dish looked, again, like it lacked moisture, but Penny didn’t complain, so it must have been OK. It seems quite a rich and heavy brunch option to me. But she was nursing quite the hangover, so that was probably a good thing!

Penny’s Mister ordered the eggs Benedict, which he promptly demolished,so again, I’m assuming it also was satisfying.
Now, the negatives. The service was abominable. Our waitress was brusque to the point of being rude. Actually, no, let me amend that; she was rude. She was visibly pissed off when we asked for a couple of minutes more to decide what to have, and she was rather overbearing when she returned to take our order later. I understand that it’s a busy cafe, but I’m sorry, you work in hospitality. Be hospitable.

Here’s an open letter to our waitress that day:

Dear waitress,


I realise that you were very busy the afternoon we came to eat at Il Fornaio. Maybe you were understaffed because someone had called in sick. But life throws challenges at us, and we really should all try to rise to meet them. I’m sorry if your boyfriend had just broken up with you earlier that week, or your cat had died, or you just had an absolute blinder the night before and you were nursing a gargantuan hangover. But perhaps if you weren’t in a decent enough mood to at least fake being nice, you should have called in sick. Oh wait, someone else already did that.

What you shouldn’t have done, was treat us as if we were insufferable fools, who were testing your patience – which was apparently failing -and who you only tolerate because you have to pay your bills. When one of us ordered a pourover coffee, it was OK that it wasn’t available, even though it was on the menu, because you were short a barista.

When one of us tried to order the pink grapefruit juice, you told us that it was only available on some days, and that you thought it wasn’t available today. Oh no, please don’t bother offering to check. And while you’re at it, please don’t apologise at all when you spill water across the table and onto Mister’s lap. And yes, we’re very thankful for your going to get some napkins and a tea towel to clean it up. Not like it’s your job or your mess or anything.

I’m hoping for your employer’s sake that you were just having a bad day. Because I wouldn’t go back if I thought I would have to endure that sort of service again.

Regards,

Billy

In all honesty, the food at Il Fornaio was quite good. I think I might just go for the baked goods and take them away next time, though.

Il Fornaio on Urbanspoon