Published on December 10th, 2009 | by Gareth
Patisseries – A quest for posh cake!
I love traditional French cuisine and have a real weakness for the patisseries.
Having relocated to the cosmopolitan metropolis of Sydney I thought I would go in search of some authentic French baking. It seems that the term patisserie is somewhat abused in Sydney. For a start a bakery that knocks out baguettes (a french stick to the Aussies), pain au chocolate and some croissants cosmetically enhanced by a dusting of icing sugar (often to mask the burnt bits) a patisserie does not make.
I’m looking for tarte aux pommes, brioche, eclairs filled with confectioners custard not squirty cream, chausson aux pommes palmiers, tarte taitin, mille feuille not to mention all of the other fruit tarts. The real deal is a culinary art form to be admired for presentation as much as the taste. I love a bit of posh cake.
First I try Jean-Marc’s in Pyrmont, its local and seems like the business without the fluff. Inside I am greeted by a ‘french’ looking madame who looks like she is holding back a grimace from the lemon she took a bite out of. Not a great start but then I came here for pastries not smiles. The selection isn’t massive and gives me the feeling that in France the place would be a bakery not a patisserie – there is a difference. Their standard croissants, pain au chocolate, almond croissant and breads are good. The custard slice looks big enough to cross the Pacific on so I will come back for that one when I am starving. Good value, still want to see more selection though.
Next I try Francois. This occupies a corner Victorian terrace, the cream and black exterior is complemented by the white on black copper plate style signage creates a stylish and slightly sophisticated first impression.
Again the range and authenticty isnt there, so I opt for almond croissant and pan au chocolate, (otherwse it is pies and scones – which are nice but not what this quest is about). Funny thing is that they have the pastries in ‘mini’. This is of course pointless unless you are a sparrow who has already had a BigMac or on an extreme diet. On the flipside you wont look like a greedy pig if you can’t decide what to have and opt for a selection.
The friendly service and good coffee somewhat makes up for my initial disappointment. Though the ‘leaning table of wobbly’ set ouside on the hill gives a feeling of having tea on the Poseidon. Easily fixed with a jandal.
Jean-Marcs, 176 Harris St, Pyrmont
Francois, 35 Union St, Pyrmont
The quest will continue…….