The beacon bakehouse of the inner-city suburbs has made its way over the bridge, at long last. Neutral Bay, originally named such when it was deemed a safe zone for foreign ships to anchor and take sustenance and supplies, has long had a quiet, cosy cafe scene of its own. And with Bourke Street Bakery's arrival, I suspect, it will bring the Bay back to its roots as a source of nourishment for happy visitors and locals alike.
Nestled just behind Military Road — yes, the lower north shore has little service laneways, too (who knew?) — the bakery has an impossible-to-resist aroma that beckons through Young Lane and leads to the carbs-and-coffee Happy Place. With its simple deck-out, window stuffed with fresh bread and not a whitewashed faux-French finish in sight, the sincere space is adjunct to Bourke Street's philosophy of honest, artisan produce and simply good food.
You'll find all the fabulous bits and bobs Bourke Street is known for — the flaky, impossibly succulent sausage rolls (pork and fennel, $4.50), the light-yet-lavish quiche (bacon, gruyere and leek quiche $4.50) and the substantial sandwiches with creative, yummy fillings ($9) — and the upbeat service is as warm as the freshly baked goods. As always, the coffee is great (from $2.50) and the patisserie is greater — I can't say no to the chocolate mousse and raspberry tart ($5) and will happily succumb to the ginger brulee tart ($5), too.
And if you needed another reason to get into the delicious breads and bites of Bourke Street, the founders have started up the Bread and Butter Project: an initiative to help train up less fortunate folk in the bakery and return the profits back into training and employment opportunities for communities in need. Find the bread at the EQ Markets (Fox Studios), Sydney Growers Markets or