Critic Issue 26 – Food Column
Nestled in Roslyn Village is a bakery that has built quite a reputation just from word of mouth, particularly through the locals. The regulars know that you have to get in early because the popular items can sell out before 8am, and then you would have to wait another week to satiate your cravings – it is open for business only once a week. By 7:30am, there is usually a small crowd at Highgate Bridge (300 Highgate, Roslyn Village), which is better known as The Friday Shop/Bakery, waiting to get their hands on the fruit tarts, croissants, pain au chocolates, meat pies, quiches, etc that line the shelves and tables of this otherwise sparse, no-frills shop.
I was after the pain au chocolates, madeleines and of course, the croissants. I had heard from more than one source that The Friday Shop’s croissants are the unquestionably the best in town. They did not disappoint – the pastries were light and flaky, and smelt heavenly, as freshly baked, butter-laden pastries often do. The almond croissant was filled from end to end with rich, melt-in-your-mouth, sweet, almond butter and encrusted with almond slices, so from the very first bite, you experience the intermingling of the different textures and flavours from the sliced almonds, the pastry and the filling. In comparison, the pain au chocolate is not much to look at, but the winning contrast between the faintly salty, flaky pastry and the sweet, smooth strips of chocolate within, makes it my favourite item. At first glance, it looks as though there isn’t enough chocolate filling, but I think that, unlike the more common chocolate drenched pastries found elsewhere, they have intentionally restrained themselves with the chocolate in order to maintain the fine complementary balance between the two, where neither the pastry nor the chocolate is the dominant flavour. The distinctly, but not overwhelmingly, orange flavoured, springy madeleines are also very good. There were so many other things to scrutinise and contemplate trying but with the pressure of the crowd of people waiting in line behind me, I got what I was familiar with and got out quickly. There’s always next Friday…
The Bakers Dozen (43 Mailer Street, Mornington) is another, more accessible, bakery that I go to for pies and chocolate lamingtons. That’s not all they have, of course, but I believe they’re known for their pies. Like The Friday Shop, you will probably miss out if you get there late, but here, ‘late’ is more like 2-3pm in the afternoon, not 8am. I always get the chicken curry and the mince pies. Their delicious pies are always hot and fresh, with nice, light-ish, flaky pastries and, tasty fillings with real, lean meat. You won’t be going back to supermarket pies once you’ve had one of these. [Edit: Also previously posted about the chicken curry pie here.]