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Archive for the ‘Coffee’ Category

Earlier this week I posted on the unique and exciting Iggy’s Bread, producing quality sourdough bread and bagels in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.  Further south, just a few minutes from the airport in Banksmeadow, is the award winning artisan bread-bakers Brasserie Bread.  For lovers of fine food and coffee, be sure to put this on your list of must-sees  For some time now, Brasserie Bread have been offering free children’s baking classes  (booked out months in advance)   Now, this award-winning bakery is opening its doors to the public, offering adult training classes in the ancient art of bread-making.  I was fortunate enough to be able to attend one recently.  It was a fantstic class.

Brasserie Bread run an exceptional operation – everything they do, they do with passion, using quality ingredients and service with a smile.  I believe this is due to the vision, experience and passion that permeates through the organisation from the founders of the company,  Michael Klausen and Tony Pappas.  I have met Michael on several occasions, and anyone who has enjoyed fine dining in Sydney for many years will remember Bayswater Brasserie and Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay (still trading today, vist their site here)  – their successful partnership began at these fine establishments.

Now, about that baking class.  Having employed a charming and knowledgeable food educator and trainer named Don, you’re in good hands from the moment the 3 hour class begins.  Firstly, coffee orders are taken (using the excellent Allpress coffee) and Mark or one of the other teriffic cafe staffers heads out to prepare the coffee.  A brief history of artisan bread-making is discussed, followed by an overview of the ingredients you will use.  it’s fascinating learning about the sourdough starter, it’s origins and importance in the whole process (the starter is nurtured and “grown” daily and improves with age)  The class is very interactive, with approximately 10 people per course everyone gets a chance to ask questions.  It’s extremely hands on, and you will awken muscles in your arms through some enthusiastic kneading of the dough into various shapes including dinner rolls, baguettes and brioche-shaped.  Everything is prepared by you then baked, then you get to take it home at the end to enjoy – and its delicious.

As if this wasn’t enough, you are then taken on a tour through the entire commercial bakery – and boy is it impressive.   Don explains all aspects of the process of getting that fresh loaf into your hands, and you get to see all the bakers in action.  It’s incredible.  There’s some imperssive technology too, with large, new ovens and sophisticated handling machinery helping out with handling the large volumes – but essentially this is hand-made bread – true artisan bread-making, with the bakers handling every aspect of the preparation process.

Finally, what everyone has been waiting for after a few hours of vigorous bread-makng and learning – the tasting.  Once again, Brasserie Bread excels here – Don explains all the varieties of bread they make, and a generous tasting platter including cheeses and antipasto is brought out for us all to enjoy.   There’s some new bread recently put on the menu too – I particularly enjoyed the Quimoa (pronounced “kin-wah” – a Soy and Linseed-style organic sourdough

Brasserie Bread is running the courses throughout the remainder of 2008 – and I would expect next year and beyond.  For anyone who enjoys cooking, good food and coffee, this is not to be missed.  There is a calendar up on the site here  Anyone who has attended the course or has any questions please leave a comment and I will get back to you shortly.

Brasserie Bread
1737 Botany Road
Banksmeasow, Sydney, NSW, Australia
info@brasseriebread.com.au
For training specifically: training@brasseriebread.com.au
P: +61 2 9666 6845
http://www.brasseriebread.com.au
Link to Google Map

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Barzura Cafe – Coogee

Hey there, Tony here, just enjoyed a Father’s Day breakfast at this Coogee beach institution.  Breakfast here done well.

 (to be continued)

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Hey there, Tony here, back as promised with some places in Sydney’s South East I’d recommend.  Firstly, the Cheese Room (see previous story) in Alexandria is going from strength to strength.  This week a delicious salad of roquefort and walnut was on offer – which I haven’t tried (yet) but can’t wait.  Around the corner is the delightful St Germaine Patisserie – just go for the pastries, in particular the croissant and pain au chocolat, but owner/chef Gwenael “Gwen” Lecampion produces quiches, cakes, and delicious savoury sandwiches on baguette bread.  An oasis on a busy inner city road. 

Head south on Botany Rd to Rosebery, left into Epson Rd and you will find Allpress Cafe.  Allpress has proven itself as a stayer, having successfully traded on this spot for many years and just completed an exciting renovation.  Always busy with a loyal friendly staff (Michael the barista is a lovely fellow, and his skills matched with Allpress’ roast is worth queing for) churning out coffee and sandwiches.  The bread, baked down the road at Brasserie Bread in Banksmeadow (itself worth a visit – see below), is superb.  There are numerous fillings matched with a variety of breads (sourdough styles mainly, all good)  Like Tropicana, Allpress has great atmosphere and is worth a sit down lunch or breakfast.

Continuing on Botany Rd, south to Banksmeadow, there is another treat in store.  Croquembouche Patisserie spoils locals with their classic French pastries.  Arrive early morning for still-warm croissants and other baked items.  Come for lunch and enjoy savoury crepes or be surprised with the soup of the day (classic French onion or potato and leek are two favourites) served with a bread roll.  Arrive after work and pick up a whole cake.  I have even seen duck pate, cassoulet ingredients and other savoury items available.  For chocolate lovers I’d recommend the Dark Chocolate Truffle (chocolate mousse with roasted hazelnuts and dacquoise biscuit), available in single serve or whole cake.  The fondant (chocolate cake without flour, covered with rich ganache cream) is a treat too.   Their classic Mille Feuilles (layers of puff pastry with vanilla custard cream) runs out fast, so be quick.

Finally, my favourite cafe in the south-east of Sydney, Brasserie Bread.  Why?  Quality, Service, Passion.  This artisan bread maker (who also supplies Allpress cafe, mentioned above) has shared the product from its wholesale bakery with the general public by opening a retail cafe out front.  Overlooking Botany Golf Course, this place is a gem.   I’d recommend the bacon and egg florentine panini or mushrooms and ricotta bruschetta for breakfast.  For lunch there are Allpress-style sandwiches (all good) and the coffee (also Allpress) is excellent.  They sell all the breads over the counter, including interesting olive oils and condiments.  Don’t miss a visit here when you’re in the area.  It’s no surprise to note that Brasserie Bread won the Sydney Morning Herad Good Food Guide Editors’ Favourite Cafe in 2006  Be sure to check out the cafe’s new website just launched in November 2007.

St Germaine Patisserie
88 Rosehill St
Redfern, Sydney, NSW, Australia
P: +61 2 9319 7161
Link to Google Map

Allpress Espresso
58 Epsom Road
Zetland, Sydney, NSW, Australia
coffee@allpressespress.com.au
P: +61 2 9662 8288
http://www.allpressespresso.com.au/
Link to Google Map

Croquembouche Patisserie
1635 Botany Road
Banksmeasow, Sydney, NSW, Australia
bonappetit@croquembouche.com.au
P: +61 2 9666 3069
http://www.croquembouche.com.au
Link to Google Map

Brasserie Bread
1737 Botany Road
Banksmeasow, Sydney, NSW, Australia
info@brasseriebread.com.au
P: +61 2 9666 6845
http://www.brasseriebread.com.au
Link to Google Map

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The Cheese Room

Update: May 2008.  Tony here, reporting that I am very saddended by the recent closure of The Cheese Room.  I believe this was a personal decision taken by the Carr family.  I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.  This little slice of Paris in Sydney’s South-East will be sorely missed.  Meanwhile, Campos-coffee lovers can continue to enjoy their brew up at Appetite Cafe on nearby 82 Regent St.  I will leave my original post on The Cheese Room below.

Original Post – January 2008

Hey there, Tony here, back with some terrific news for anyone close to Alexandria, in Sydney’s south-east, which has been steadily growing into another Sydney food-hub in the tradition of Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, and Leichardt.

Today I am thinking about one of the most surprising, exciting and unique cafe/general stores to have come along in 2007.  The Cheese Room, owned and operated by David and Virginia Carr and their children, is situated on Henderson Road Alexandria, opposite the Australian Technology Park, on the corner of Garden St.  A beautiful building too, tastefully decorated and arranged in a way that wouldn’t look out of place in an historic Paris street.

This store has been a revelation to me, due to the simple fact that David and Virginia live with passion.  This passion has created a business focussed on excellence and service which I feel blessed to have access to.  What started as an idea for a retail cheese provedore has quickly evolved into a cafe/restaurant in answer to the locals’ needs.  Air-conditioned inside with communal and private table, wireless Internet access and plenty of seating outdoors.

Firstly, the coffee I am pleased to say is excellent.  Sydney is so blessed to have great espresso now, with numerous roasters and award-winning baristas making espresso all over town.  The Cheese Room is no exception, with Newtown-based Campos Coffee available.  Tristram, an experienced and passionate barista, puts care into every cup, the result being a smooth, fresh shot every time.  Just go to The Cheese Room for the coffee, you won’t be disappointed.  In fact only last week I tried the chai tea, again made with care by Tristram, who had been brewing the tea over a 24-hour period to ensure maximum flavour and impact.  Supplied by the Melbourne-based Larsen and Thomson tea merchants, chai tea is a refreshing, creamy drop for those who prefer their warm beverages caffeine-free.

Secondly, the cafe-style food.  Virginia Carr, who you will see moving back and forth from kitchen to front-of-store with mouth-watering items, is the driving force behind an amazing array of food choices considering one’s first impression when entering the store is that it is a new deli counter.  Available of course are the sandwiches, simple items such as “Croque Monsieur” (toasted ham and cheese with béchamel) which is so delicious that to call it a toasted ham-and-cheese sandwich is an under-statement.  How about a Panini-bread sandwich with Polish ham, cheese and salad, with a tangy Tamarind paste – delicious.  Or a simple salad and brie roll – fresh tasty ingredients served simply but with this quality of ingredients simple is best.  From here it just keeps getting better, for example the “tasting plate” which provides an array of different flavours including olives, double-smoked ham, cheddar cheese, quince paste, gazpacho (tomato-based soup served chilled) with a side-serving of greek salad and crusty sliced baguette.  How about oven-warmed figs wrapped in prosciutto, filled with Capparis’ goats-curd cheese, on a bed of rocket salad, olive oil and balsamic – delicious.  The simple and inventive caprese-style salad of roma tomatoes, buffalo mozzarelle, basil and rocket with prosciutto and large, thinly sliced croutons, makes for a delicious lunch alternative.  There are plenty of choices here and its not just about the cheese.  Virginia makes an amazing strawberry and cream cupcake too.  Even simpler there are croissants, pain au chocolate (chocolate filled croissants) and toast with jam.

No description of The Cheese Room is complete without of course mentioning the cheese.  First, some background. For the past 5 years, David and Virginia whilst rasing their 3 lovely children Mathew, Katie and Eliza and seeing them through secondary school, have maintained traditional corporate jobs (David is an experienced media lawyer) whilst operating a twice-weekly cheese-stall at the Farmer’s Market in Moore Park’s Entertainment Quarter (previously known as Fox Studios, Driver Avenue Moore Park, Sydney)  After a brief stint in Dulwich Hill, reported in Sydney’s SMH Good Living in 2006, they decided to move closer to home in Alexandria, where their continued passion for their work is helping to meet the growing  demand for quality produce.

There is an assortment of local and imported cheeses, (many Australian cheese makers are supported here, such as the excellent Capparis from Gloucester, NSW)  I have tried the Woko Cow’s milk cheese from Capparis, with Bacco’s Leaves (Australian-made biscuit bread) and it reminded me of an excellent brie.  Folks do yourself a favour and head to The Cheese Room immediately.

The Cheese Room
Henderson Rd, corner Garden St Alexandria, Sydney, NSW, Australia
http://www.thecheeseroom.net.au
P: 02 8394 9384
F: 02 8394 9502
M: 0431 706 021
E: david@thecheeseroom.net.au
Open 7 days, 730am-5pm
Link to Google Map

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