1a Bucknell St Newtown, NSW 2042
|Opening hours||Wed to Sun 8am-2:30pm|
|Features||Cheap and cheerful, Family friendly, Food shop, Breakfast-brunch|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
Back in the mists of time, popping out to the bakery was a succinct experience involving pointing at a loaf, maybe a dozen date scones if guests were coming, and then out.
But bakeries have changed. Flour wizards such as Dougal Muffet, head baker and co-owner of A.P. Bakery, trigger lingering fans poring over roasted buckwheat pain au chocolat, fenugreek and sesame bread and poppy seed-crusted citrus and almond tebirkes.
At A.P. Bakery's new back lane venue in Newtown, morning queuers pass a paper menu down the line to establish preference for whiskey caneles or twice-baked hazelnut and chocolate praline croissants.
A debate breaks out under two umbrellas over the flaky softness of A.P.'s classic buttermilk croissant versus the sweet meatiness of the quince, ricotta and almond danish.
Muffet, who co-owns A.P. Bakery with Reuben Hills-founder Russell Beard, chef and owner of Est and Poly, Mat Lindsay, and Ping Jin Ng, owner of Paramount House Hotel, is ever-grateful for this devotion. If pushed, he'd pick the buttermilk croissant, particularly as they're baked at the last minute each morning.
"It stresses everyone out," Muffet says. "But I want them going into the delivery van hot so, when the first people get them, they're still warm."
Standing in the line snaking down Bucknell Lane, thoughts of what's still warm are overshadowed by what might be left. Pastry speckled people wander past munching Aleppo pepper and Asiago cheese scrolls or gooey ham and Gruyere cheese croissants from paper bags.
Others, drinking Reuben Hills coffee, carry loaves of seeded rye and hazelnut or fig and apricot fruit bread with a breathtaking nonchalance.
A voice at the head of queue calls out, "there's three croissants left", inspiring a mumbling concern akin to waiting outside the Boxing Day sales as the whitegoods deals dwindle.
Store manager Otis Ng greets every eager face with a smile. The loaf shelves behind him are bare but he rustles up a macadamia, honey and thyme croissant, a buttermilk croissant and a chocolate and liquorice tart.
A fellow staff member walks the street announcing all pastries and pies are sold out. A rush on Aleppo pepper and chickpea soup, with buttered baguette, and gruyere, Asiago and cheddar cheese toasties on fermented potato bread ensues.
A.P. Town is not really a sit-in cafe although there are two stools at a wall-mounted ledge overlooked by Peanuts posters. Rather than taunt the still-hopeful faces at the door, eating begins on the street.
Muffet is right. The buttermilk croissant is a buoyant cloud of still-warm pastry, but what's equally exquisite is the macadamia, honey and thyme-filled version, A.P. Bakery's take on the frangipane, or almond cream, croissant.
Wedged with a sticky cobblestone-like layer of macadamias, coconut sugar, caramelised honey and thyme garnish, it is decadently good.
The chocolate and liquorice tart, a Mat Lindsay creation, halts proceedings. A cylindrical pastry filled with dark, aniseed-infused chocolate and topped with a pod-shaped slab of glossy cream, its strong and unusual mix is strangely converting after a time. Inspired by chocolate-liquorice bullets, it is worth ordering to watch someone else's face while eating it.
A.P. Town, is the first stand-alone shop for A.P. Bakery. Fans can still get baked goods at A.P. House on Paramount House Hotel's rooftop and at Carriageworks' markets and there are plans afoot for another venue.
Muffet says their hand-built stone mill from northern Vermont company New American Stone Mills is now fully operational, allowing greater flour production and a more varied rotation of bread. He is planning additions to the pie, pastry and loaf range and working to alleviate the daily queues with increased production.
"It's my objective to ensure no one goes without," he says.
For now, this back-lane spot, its paling-lined footpath edged by pastry and bread admirers, has a neighbourly feel warming Muffet's heart.
"I've always dreamt of having a little coffee and pastry shop around the corner from me," he says. "I hope we're providing that dream for someone else, too."
Vibe Tiny back-lane bakery with champion bread and pastries
Go-to dish Macadamia, honey and thyme-filled croissant
Insta-worthy dish Chocolate and liquorice tart or oozy three-cheese toastie