Surry Hills is home to an endless trendy supply of excellent cafés, restaurants and other miscellaneous eateries. You could easily have a food blog on just this area. Back in 2012 I went there almost every week for brunch – it is just that good. There’s every good reason to hit the Hills, and not just for brunch too.
Bourke Street Bakery, while not one of the Hills’ famous cafés, always draws a line outside – the chain of bakeries under the BSB name produce arguably the best baked goods this side of Sydney.
I’ve been several times, always to get the sweet stuff; but recently, beginning to explore some of the savoury. Let’s all hop on the magic school bus, shrink ourselves, and dive into their baked goodies!
Date Visited: 1/12/2012
Address: 633 Bourke St Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Go-to dish: rhubarb & almond tart
Indeed I went a little crazy here, buying 6 different tarts, one pie and two sausage rolls (the latter on another visit). Of course, it isn’t all for me – I figured my parents could use something sweet as well. Also gives me an excuse to overspend
It isn’t totally insane though – when it comes to the sweet things, BSB is most famous for its tarts. I didn’t even get half of what they had on their menu…at $4-$5.5 a pop these will deplete your wallet three times as fast as they’ll fill up your stomachs.
Crunchy chocolate sprinkles on a bed of rich, creamy chocolate mousse with a raspberry center makes for a very inviting tart. It’s full of sugar, but the taste of it makes you forget about the guilt with ease. The mousse is leaning towards the taste of dark chocolate, which is excellent due to my bias for dark. The raspberry center I was more neutral about (I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said I don’t get along too well with raspberries), but was still sweet enough for me to enjoy.
The sprinkles top it off, and along with the perfect pastry, completes the tart with fine texture.
This is my favourite tart that BSB offers on a regular basis (this extends to tarts that I’ve tried that are not in this post). I just can’t get over the combination that is rhubarb & almond. The sweet, nutty almond-based filling complements the roasted rhubarb extraordinarily well. This tart isn’t anything special, it’s just a great mix of complementary flavours and textures. As usual, BSB’s tart pastry is spot on. A real winner.
For something sharper, more acute on the senses, the lemon curd tart is where you go. Creamy and super smooth, consistent lemon curd fills its tarty container. The taste is as you would expect – that classic lemony-sweet tang that always prompts one for more bites.
This sweet thing is a bit more unique by the previous standards. A crème brûlée is pretty cool already, adding a hint ginger is actually genius. It may not seem so, but if you taste it you see why it works. The burnt hard caramel layer is done quite well, albeit a little too hard and thick. The ‘crack’ wasn’t really there.
The custard however, was amply delicious. What does the ginger bring? Refreshment, really – it’s like palate cleanser that actually matches the thing it’s meant to cleanse. It’s a good feeling, but one that’s difficult to describe with words. Be warned, it may detract from the flavour of the brulée itself. Try one – chances are you’ll appreciate, if not like it.
I should have taken inside shots of each tart, not sure why I only did it with this one…#fail
As it was nearing Christmas, BSB put out a special fruit mince pie that’s usually not on the menu, and recommended me to buy one. The wallet was feeling kind of free (too free….hmmm) so I obliged.
The pastry is of the high BSB standard, but I can’t help but feel that the apple fruit mince wasn’t really any better than a store-bought version. I know, a pretty damning thing to say, but that’s what I felt. Perhaps an outlier? Nah…just a matter of practice I guess.
Of course, store-bought mince pies are actually pretty good (let’s not condemn foods just because they’re store-bought), so you could view it that way.
This hits the spot. Think the raspberry choc mousse tart without the raspberry, or the sprinkles, and darker chocolate all the way through.
The most basic of tarts, but a delicious, delicious one. I would probably not finish one in one sitting, preferring to nom it across two sessions. It’s worth savouring.
I’ve always felt meringue is just aerated sugar, and it sure tastes in a similar way. Then again, it’s better than cotton candy (let the hate mail cometh). Nevertheless, it sure does look beautiful and that’s exemplified through this passion fruit tart. Luckily, not too much meringue is used, and what you see is blowtorched ever so slightly to give that crisp that makes it so delectable.
The passion fruit filling is tangy, zesty as per a genuine passion fruit. Bingo.
And now, for the tasty tasty savoury goodies.
They say that the sausage rolls at BSB are amazing, and they’re right. The lamb & harissa roll was my preferred roll out of the two we ordered. It was the slightly spicy harissa that really did the trick, as the pastry was just superb for both.
I’m usually afraid of sausage roll filling being quite mushy and texture-less, but I had no qualms with the roll here. I haven’t actually had a better sausage roll in memory.
That particular sentiment could also be applied to the pork & fennel roll. Generous portions of pork imbued with fennel seeds deliver an aromatic pork/aniseed-like taste sensation that is seldom matched by other fillings. I really can’t use too many words on sausage rolls, just assume that they’re worth trying out if you’re even remotely close to the area.
Ya know, if I go to BSB to get their sausage rolls, I’m not sure if I can stop myself from getting both each time.
Still the one-stop place to get all your tarty goodness – perhaps even worth the travel if they’re what gets you going. If savoury goods are what you’re after, BSB definitely has you covered too. There’s nothing pastry-related they can’t do!
As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three
The Good: a near-superlative sweet dominance, especially in the tarts. Savoury is hard to beat as well
What could be improved: ginger tart is daring and will not please all, some tarts disagree with my palate slightly (so not really an ‘improvement’ to be made)
I give Bourke St Bakery a grand total of eight and a half Caesars out of ten – 8.5/10