80 Commonwealth St Surry Hills, NSW 2010
|Opening hours||Thurs to Sun 7.30am-3pm|
|Features||Food shop, Outdoor seating, Breakfast-brunch|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
|Phone||02 9211 1222|
There is either incredible genius or heartwarming irony behind A.P. Bakery opening their hotly anticipated cafe smack bang next to an exercise club on an outdoor rooftop in Surry Hills.
Anyone wishing to burn off head baker Dougal Muffet's pillowy buttermilk croissants, fragrant coconut and plum bakewell tarts or soft fermented potato ciabatta layered with crispy bacon, hot sauce and curry leaf butter, will rejoice at the convenience of fitness classes centimetres from their table.
And good luck to them. A.P. House, which sits atop the Paramount House Hotel and cheek-to-cheek with the Paramount Recreation Club, is full of people eating great parcels of extraordinary bread and baked goods with nary a thought for their thighs.
The plywood shelves near the front counter, stacked with baguettes, bomboloni (Italian doughnuts), Aleppo pepper and asiago cheese scrolls, fenugreek and sesame loaves, and other whackingly large bronzed breads made using heritage wheat, spelt and freshly milled rye, are gone in minutes.
Wrapped and hugged by dough-loving locals, workers, hotel guests and anyone virtuously dewy from a Pilates class behind the exercise club's gossamer curtains.
A.P. House is the work of All Purpose Bakery, a team including Muffet, Russell Beard, founder of Reuben Hills and the Paramount Coffee project, Mat Lindsay, owner and chef at Est and Poly, and Ping Jin Ng, who founded and owns Paramount House Hotel and Golden Age Cinema & Bar. Beard, Jin Ng and Lindsay are also co-owners of Shwarmama a few doors up the road.
In early 2021, A.P. Bakery was on the way to opening a cafe in a heritage-listed sandstone cottage in Darlinghurst before Covid-19 lockdowns and building delays got in the way. Its opening is slated for the next few months.
Lovers of A.P. Bakery have been getting their mitts on the pastries, croissants, buckwheat pain au chocolate, rosella wheat canele, sourdough baguettes, fermented potato buns and mixed grain loaves at Carriageworks markets, Paramount Coffee Project and Reuben Hills for months.
But, since February, Muffet and co have had a permanent home up in the sky, surrounded by clouds, potted natives and succulent gardens.
Shade comes from dinky circles of blue canvas on white poles, furniture is slatted white chairs and small round tables and the surrounding low pale blue walls makes it feel like we're sitting in a drained sun-dappled swimming pool edged by potted cacti with access to ancient and artisanal grains.
The latter is the big drawing card at A.P. House. Muffet, who grew up on a wheat farm in Forbes, has spent years fine-tuning the ingredients for his breads and baked goods. After working in several bakeries, and becoming concerned about how the wheat was sourced, he began tinkering with the idea of growing and milling it.
A.P. Bakery has their own New American stone mill, housed in Marrickville, which supplies some of their flour. Muffet, who was formally at Ester and Moonacres kitchen in Robertson, says some wheat is sourced from farmers in Woodstock, Narromine and on his parents' farm.
"The whole idea for the mill is to support the regenerative farmers out there that don't have a marketplace to sell their grain, that are looking for a place to put their product," he says.
"I can afford to pay them and mill it ourselves and put it into our bread. But it's not the only grain that we're using or the only flours we're using."
The rest of the menu's dishes are overseen by Lindsay and range from wholewheat toast topped with whipped ricotta, honey and fried rosemary to a volcanically melted croque monsieur, a quivering omelette served with potato chips and curry leaves and a cheese and onion burger with pickles and mustard.
Cocktails, beer, wine and spirits are available, but coffee, from the nearby Reuben Hills Roastery, is excellent. You can also order juices and smoothies including an avocado version.
Nothing surpasses the baked goods, though. When a passing acquaintance hails an unexpected "Hello", a full two minutes of finishing the melty, golden meat pie passes before I speak. At A.P. House food comes before friendship.
Vibe California rooftop bakery cafe with extraordinary bread.
Go-to dish Crispy bacon, hot sauce and curry leaf butter on fermented potato bread.
Insta-worthy dish Espresso and gianduja babka croissant.
Cost Average cost for two, $50