Woah Nelly Doughnuts Pop Up

  

Sydney

I have to admit, I’m not much of a doughnut person. Personally, I’ve never seen the attraction with these big rings of bland dough or greasy batter, topped off with sickly sweet icing. But some doughnuts look too good to pass up at least a try. 
  

  
Woah Nelly doughnuts are usually reserved for those who wish to order six or more, ahead of time, to be delivered on a Friday. I wouldn’t exactly label them as ” easily available”. So, when you receive word that they will be hosting a pop up at one of your favourite coffee spots for one day only; no pre-planned ordering, no quantity minimums, just the casual, in-person exchange of the goods you want for the price they charge; you take the opportunity. 
 
At $5 each, they were a little pricier than the usual catering price, but when they are covered in a variety of sauces and crunchy bits, then placed neatly in a cardboard burger box, it seems easy to let that minor detail slip. 
  
So, where they enough to convert this proclaimed doughnut-unenthusiast into someone who thinks that doughnuts could, maybe, be in an appropriate treat of choice sometimes? I can only speak for one flavour, but yes! Predictably, I went for the salted caramel and pretzel (whilst maple bacon does sound pretty exciting, bacon is another food I don’t understand the wide spread fascination with).
The texture/softness of the dough was perfect; not too doughy or bread roll like. The salted caramel icing was just the right consistency to stick to the doughnut without causing any mess, yet runny enough to provide a contrast to the crispy bits of broken pretzel. The two flavours complemented each other well, without any expense spared to ensure that the caramel was suitably salty. 
  
It’s unlikely that I will start ordering these doughnuts, even as a Friday afternoon work treat, but if Woah Nelly starting doing more physical pop ups like this, it’s definitely something I’d go out of my way for. 
Atmosphere: 4/5 (not really an atmosphere score given it was a pop up at another cafe, but I give points for the packaging)
Value: 3/5
Quality: 5/5
Overall: 8/10

Sydney’s Best Almond Croissants

Almond Croissants are underrated to say the least. Although a staple of most bakeries/patisseries, they are never given as much credit as their more prominent cousin; the original croissant. Alas, they have the potential to blend the crispyness and buttery goodness of a croissant with the doughy, sweetness of a cake. Needless to say, it’s time we had a list to celebrate these perfect creations and pay our respects to those who do them the well.

These are the best almond croissants in Sydney.

1 – La Renaissance $5/$6.50 (takeaway/eat in) The Rocks

Apparently they sell over 1000 of these weekly making it a clear specialty and they are pretty good. One of the more buttery tasting almond croissants I’ve had, the outside is slightly crunchy with a multitude of almonds and icing sugar scattered over. This houses a delicious cakey core that still resembles a traditional croissant. Let’s just ignore the horrendous $1.50 eat in charge. 

2 – Brickfields $5 Chippendale
These guys get the all important balance between a flaky, crisp shell and soft inner just right. It tastes like they add a slight amount of honey to the outside and cinnamon to the filling and the whole thing is best described as sitting proudly between a standard croissant and almond croissant.
3 – Infinity Bakery $4.50 Darlinghurst
These things are not for the faint-hearted. They’re friggin’ massive. They are also probably the closest thing to a traditional almond croissant I’ve found. Originally almond croissants were a deformation of stale croissants so that they could still be used. Patisseries would take the once crispy, now soft croissant and dress it in almond paste and flakes. That’s largely what this is and it goes down a treat.
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4 – Bourke Street Bakery $4.50 Surry Hills
Quite heavy and cakey, this resembles more of a bun than a croissant. It’s the same size/shape as a pain au chcocolate, but soft and with a substantial amount of almond filling that is almost creamy It’s pretty damn tasty but I’m not sure that it is entirely what I look for in an almond croissant.
5 – Central Baking Depot $4.40 Sydney
The hordes of people hanging around here every morning are not misled. As you enter, you are greeted with the thick smell of various tempting pastries. Their almond croissants seemed to have diminished in size over the years but are still quite a generous snack. They blend their soft, cake-lie interior with a slightly crispy outer shell. Nicely done.
IMG_35637 – Flour and Stone $4.50 Woolloomooloo
They may well be known for their lamingtons, but how does their take on the humble almond croissant compare? Well, it’s a little hard to ran them amongst their peers, because their almong croissant is a lot more like a standard croissant. Rather than being soft and cakey, it’s firm and crunchy with icing sugar and almond slivers scattered on top. Whether or not it makes it better is a matter of personal taste, and personally, I really like them.
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8 – Sonoma $5 Glebe
The Sonoma almond croissant is soft and tasty but really pushes on the boundary of cake/bun rather than a croissant. It’s quite soft all the way through with no crisp coming from the shell. It’s still a decent size and offering though.

La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie on Urbanspoon Brickfields on Urbanspoon Infinity Bakery on Urbanspoon Bourke Street Bakery on Urbanspoon Central Baking Depot on Urbanspoon Flour and Stone on Urbanspoon Sonoma Bakery Cafe on Urbanspoon La Banette Pâtisserie on Urbanspoon

Brickfields Review

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Sydney

This charming bakery/cafe lies within close proximity of the city but channels the relaxed energy of the suburbs. It sits a few minutes walk from the Central Park shopping centre on Cleveland street.

Depending on which side you approach from, you may see the shop front and seating area first- which had that rustic-cool feel typical of the inner west- or you may see the big open kitchen which allows to view the bakers at work.

There are some light meals that can be ordered here, but the baked goods seems to be the main draw card. Aside from their well-known sourdough loaves, Brickfields also do a small range of treats like croissants, brownies, tarts and quiches.

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The croissants have a perfectly crisp and flakey shell with delicious layers of buttery goodness; but to my disappointment, there were no almond croissants. I also tried the custard tart which had a nice flakey case and a delicious blend of spices to accompany the egg custard- great for those who want something sweet, but not sickly sweet.
Brickfields also roast their own coffee, which ends up being very smooth and creamy. There are bags of beans for sale, which I was tempted by, but left without.

Brickfields does miss one key factor though. Yes, it’s a nice place to catch up with friends and relax. Yes, the food is good and and tasty. Yes, the prices are okay. But they have no real draw cards which would get me to go too much out of my way to get back there. The range is fairly standard and the quality is good but on par with many other similar places scattered around the city. I’d say it’s great if you’re in the area but not worth travelling too far for.

Regular coffee: $3.50
Croissant: $3.50
Tart: $5
Sourdough Loaves: $6-6.50

Atmosphere 4/5
Quality 4/5
Value 3/5
Overall 7/10

206 Cleveland Street, Chippendale

Some images from Brickfield’s Facebook

Brickfields on Urbanspoon

Kingswood Review

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A recent trip to World Square may have had you notice this reasonably new espresso bar. Perched just at the George Street entrance, the wide and open wooden exterior is hard to miss.

The decor, music, coffee machine’s and even the staff’s clothing all support a classic fifties bar theme. Kingswood does this quite well, making it stand out easily. The lack of dedicated seating, however, means that you can only really enjoy the atmosphere while you order and wait.
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The coffee itself, brewed from Sensory Lab beans, is good, not amazing. But like most of the coffee shops down this end of town, is opts for $3.50 price tag. Better coffee can be found around the cbd for $3.
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Kingswood focuses mainly on coffee; iced and filter, etc are also available, but other than that, a small selection of pastries are available for $4.50 each, including some oddly-shaped croissants that have outer layers so crispy and flakey that they are rather reminiscent of a French Madeline.

Atmosphere: 4/5
Quality: 3/5
Value: 3/5
Overall: 7/10

World Square, 680 George Street Sydney

http://www.kingswoodcoffee.com.au

Pictures from Kingswood’s Facebook.

Kingswood Coffee on Urbanspoon

Luxe Bakery Review

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Sydney

Luxe Bakery is dubbed as one of the top bakeries in Sydney, and rightfully so. Whilst it sits only a short walk from the queue-attracting Black Star, it pulls a well-deserved crowd of its own.

The bakery itself is a cute converted cottage with a decent area for seating. Aside from serving sourdoughs, pastries and cakes there’s also a decent menu for breakfast and brunch.

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The bread is all cooked on-site with a crisp crust and doughy texture. It’s fairly pricey to buy though. The pastries are a highlight. The almond croissants have a perfectly crunchy outer layer with tasty almond filling. The range of cakes looked impressive but I didn’t taste any. The coffee is okay, but not very strong.

Atmosphere: 4/5
Quality: 4/5
Value: 4/5
Overall: 8/10

191 Missenden Road, Newtown

http://luxesydney.com.au/about/
Luxe Bakery on Urbanspoon

Le Pain Quotidien: The Rocks Review

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Sydney
127 George Street, The Rocks

Le Pain Quotidien is a French bakery/eatery chain and, depending on which you go to, can get very mixed reviews. The Rocks location (one of the better Sydney outlets) doesn’t feel like a chain store; it’s in a quaint old building with several rooms, all boasting a homely feel with an abundance of antique-style pine furniture. The cabinets displaying pastries and bread are scattered and, on weekday mornings at least, it’s quiet. It makes a pretty good setting for peaceful breakfast.

The coffee is served out of a small bowl rather than a mug, which is novel and easier to manoeuvre than it may sound. It’s rich, smooth and definitely not burnt.

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Along with my coffee, I got an almond Danish. It was nice, soft, with a good texture and delicate flavour.

All in all, I highly recommend it here.

Atmosphere 5/5
Value 4/5
Quality 4/5
Overall 8/10

Le Pain Quotidien on Urbanspoon

Chouquette Review

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Brisbane

Chouquette is a tribute to the traditional art of baking in France. Each pastry is perfectly buttery and flakey, just as you’d expect to get from a Parisian patisserie. The prices might seem a little expensive given the size of the cakes, but once you’ve tasted them you’ll find that the quality is more than worth it.
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Croissants (Chouquette’s speciality) are served with jam, chocolate or caramel and can be plain, chocolate or almond. You’ll also find fruit tarts, Danishes and macarons in the cabinet as well as baguettes and other breads behind the counter that even your French friends will pine over.
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I had a peach tart and coffee and, whilst the coffee was unreasonably priced given it’s quality ($4.50 for nothing special), the tart was worth every penny. The flakey pastry paired impeccably with the sweet peach topping. The queues are long and the place gets busy, but you won’t be let down.

Atmosphere: 3/5
Quality: 5/5
Value: 4/5
Overall 10/10

19 Baker Street, Newfarm

Images taken from the Chouquette website.

chouquette.com.au

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Chouquette Patisserie & Café on Urbanspoon

Candied Bakery Review

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Melbourne

Situated in a rather quiet area of Spotswood, Candied Bakery is a New York diner-style bakery, serving shakes, pies, hot dogs, soft serve and, of course, lots of pastries. The store is quite open and bright with a very crisp feel. Cherry beats in the background compliment compliment the look of the place.

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Starting with the savories; the blue cheese croissant is a popular choice. It’s rich and buttery, but you won’t regret your decision. Home made hot dogs include a free range sausage in a sweet brioche bun with a mix of kimchi and mayo on top. They’re pretty good as far as hot dogs go, but nothing too outstanding. You’re best off going with one of the gourmet pies for $5.60. The pastry is good and the fillings are chunky and of high quality.

According to most reviews, you’ll find that Candied Bakery is famous for two things; soft serve and apple pie shakes. The soft serve flavours rotate on a weekly basis amongst a selection including crunchy honey nut, milo and peanut butter and jelly. I was fortunate enough to try the peanut butter and jelly. It was thick, creamy and sweet, with only a subtle peanut butter flavour. Servings may sound expensive at $4.50 per cup, but each flavour is quite involved with a mixture of ingredients included on top of the soft serve itself…for soft serve it probably is still a bit expensive though.

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The apple pie shake is exactly what it sounds like it is (but probably still not what you expect it to be); an apple pie blended up with vanilla soft serve. At $6.50, this is a meal in itself. There are chunks of apple and pastry too big to fit through the straw and actually finishing a whole shake is nothing to scoff at. It get flavours include milo and coffee.

If something big and milky isn’t your thing, then you may like to steer clear of the soft serves and shakes and head over to the cakes and pastries instead. There’s rich chocolate brownie pies topped with salted pretzels, almond croissants, Nutella cookies, sweet Italian custard-filled doughnuts and much more on offer.

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For the quality, Candied Bakery lives up to its expectations. Prices certainly are not cheap, but not too bad considering what’s on offer either.

Atmosphere: 3/5
Quality: 4/5
Value: 3/5
Overall 7/10

81A Hudson’s Road, Spotswood

candied bakery.com.au

 

Images from Candied Bakery’s Facebook
Candied Bakery on Urbanspoon

 

Black Star Pastry Review

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Small, crowded, staff flaunting tattoos, piercings and plenty of attitude – Black Star Pastry paints a pretty accurate picture of the rest of Newtown.  But there’s a very good reason why it’s constantly busy and now has a second location in Rosebery.

The cakes/ desserts, many of which are vegan, boast interesting flavour combinations as opposed to the usual selection that you’ll find in most bakeries.  The header chef behind the bakery (Christopher Thé) used to work as a pastry chef at several fine dining locations including Bel Mondo, Claudes and Quay Restaurant, and this past experience really shows through.
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The strawberry watermelon cake is one of the highlights here.  It consists of several layers of almond dacquoise and rose scented cream with watermelon, strawberries and pistachios.  It’s really light and refreshing and boasts a perfect marriage of flavours.

The vegan popcorn chocolate cake does not stand out any where near as much.  Sure it’s nice, and the caramelized popcorn sitting on top creates some intrigue, but it’s just a dense chocolate cake- so only get it if that’s what you’re craving and don’t expect to be amazed.

Another iconic offering at Black Star are their “ginger ninjas”; gingerbread men with chocolate sauced used to dress them up as ninjas.  Not being a huge fan of gingerbread men, the combination of the delicate ginger and cinnamon flavouring along with the slightly crunchy  but not too hard texture impressed me.  It was a damn good gingerbread cookie. But for $4.50, this may be one thing in Black Star that is, without a doubt, overpriced.  If you opt for the naked version though, it will only be around half the cost.
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In general, the price-to-quality ratio at Black Stat is very reasonable. Carefully crafted cakes with extravagant layers and ingredients will only set you back around $5-$7 per piece. They are also one of the only places I’ve seen in Sydney that don’t charge extra to have a few ice cubes thrown in your coffee (iced lattes are $3.50, the same as a regular coffee).

Atmosphere 3/5
Quality 4/5
Value 4/5
Overall 8/10

277 Australia Street, Newtown
85-113 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery

blackstarpastry.com.au

Black Star Pastry Newtown on Urbanspoon

Ragamuffin Review

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Ragamuffin is somewhat of a Norton Street institution. It deals only in coffee and muffins. But these are no ordinary muffins. They come in an impressive range of flavours and look and flatter and less puffed out than normal muffins. This is because they are cooked twice- first steamed to ensure that the inside is cooked but still moist and light, then baked to give a crunchy outside. The result is addictive and unlike any other muffin I’ve tasted before.

The flavours change constantly, but on any given day, there will be a small selection of savory muffins; spinach and ricotta, sundried tomato and feta, bacon and zucchini, etc, but the sweet muffins are definitely the main event here. Upon biting into many of them, you will be met with a saucy liquid explosion of flavour in the middle- an impressive surprise.

I’ve tried both the strawberry milkshake and lemon mirangue in occasion, both of which were filled with a saucy goodness inside. The peanut butter and banana offers more of a gooey mess, but very tasty none-the-less.

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On any given day, they will have around 15 flavours, which makes deciding very difficult, especially seeing as you are choosing between flavours like cinnamon apple scotch, double chocolate ganache, lemon and lychee, lime and coconut, and, for a limited time, hot cross muffin (especially for Easter).

What I really like about these muffins is that not only are they a good size (not so big that they are pretty much a meal in themselves like most muffins), but they are also full of flavour; all killer no filler, if you will.

Ragamuffin’s growing popularity has recently seen them increase their price from $3.50 to $4 each, but these creations are well worth the money.

Atmosphere 3/5
Quality 5/5
Value 4/5
Overall 9/10

157 Norton Street, Leichhardt

 

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Ragamuffin on Urbanspoon