Brasserie Bread

Since I’ve come back from our USA trip – I’ve been taunted by pervasive memories of those amazing sourdough pancakes at Bubby’s in Tribeca (see post here).  As a result, I’ve taken to randomly checking Google for mentions of “sourdough pancakes” and “melbourne”.

Imagine my hysterical surprise and joy when I finally got a hit!!   Oh my goodness!!   I had to check them out as soon as possible!!

Brasserie Bread

150 Thistlethwaite St
South Melbourne VIC 3205
1300 966 845
Open:  Mon – Sat  7:30am – 3pm

Brasserie Bread originated in Sydney over 10 years ago, and prides itself on supplying some of the best restaurants in Sydney.  Their philosophy is that there are no shortcuts to making great bread, and they have a host of big name restaurants to attest to that belief.  They’ve now decided to spread the love down here in Melbourne.  The bakery took over a warehouse earlier this year, and converted it, and has now thrown open its doors to the public as of November 17, 2011.

In terms of ambience, they have secured a huge space in a street that’s really bereft of any retail or cultural interest (well – none that I noticed anyway).  For instance, they’re next to a panel beater.  Nonetheless, they have decked out the café area with cool blonde wood, a number of communal and individual tables of varying heights, and smooth concrete working areas.  The set up ensures the place will never feel crowded out, and gives it a lovely light-filled, airy atmosphere.

Apparently they supply 15 different types of bread – and aim to not only supply the restaurant trade, but also the discerning home buyer who is keen on quality, artisan bread.  They already have a loyal following of ex-Sydneysiders and customers who had found them in their travels.

I have to be honest though – I didn’t come here for the bread.  I was here for one thing, and one thing only. No pressure!

This is one of those cafés where you need to go to the counter first to order and pay.  So, I did just that.  On the day I attended, a Monday from memory, around 10am – it was very quiet.

First up, my coffee arrived. And can I say – this was a great coffee.  Brasserie Bread uses Allpress coffee, and have a shiny new La Marzocco machine – which they are very proud of.  If this is the type of coffee it’s pushing out – I’m very proud of it too!

And here they come… the sourdough pancakes…

At first glance, I couldn’t help but be a bit worried – they looked very different to the pancakes I had in New York.  But not to be thwarted, and desperately trying to keep hope alive – I eagerly cut into them.

Hmmm…. Nope.  Not the same at all.

These pancakes are quite thick – potentially due to the natural aeration that occurs with anything sourdough.   But they were also pretty dry as well – there wasn’t any of that soft moistness that I love in a pancake. Nor did I detect the natural tang that occurs with sourdough either, so I’m not sure how strong the sourdough starter is.

I was disappointed – and look, I acknowledge that I have high expectations. But it can’t be helped – I’ve tasted the good stuff and I want more. But it looks like I may have to go back to New York… if you know any great pancakes in Melbourne – please let me know!!

As a dish – the pancakes were pleasant enough – and they were served with beautiful stewed berries, and an innovative honeycomb cream. Basically, the cream had chunks of honeycomb folded through it, giving a great contrast of cool creaminess with crunchy sweetness. However, I can’t deny it, I think I am a long way off from finding a domestic substitute for Bubby’s amazing sourdough pancakes.

Nonetheless, I think Brasserie bread is worth another visit.  They had a great selection of breads available to take away, and given this is what they’ve built their business on, I’m sure they are very good.  And that coffee is worth another detour – it was smooth and rich, and there was no hint of bitterness at all.

In addition, they have a lot of other things on their menu that could lure me in (toasted spelt and banana bread with lemon curd, buttery sauteed mushrooms with parsley & lemon and French mountain bread, etc, etc.).

I think South Melbourne locals will be thanking their lucky stars to have such a great bakery and café in the neighbourhood.  And if you’re looking for a breakfast or lunch place away from the madding crowd of Bay Street – this just might be the ticket.  Just don’t order the pancakes after eating at Bubby’s in Tribeca and you should be OK.

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