"We don't do poached eggs. It's my most hated of all eggs," chef Elvis Abrahanowicz says, laughing.
So at Humble Bakery in Surry Hills, the eggs are nicely set and anything but gooey: they're smartly served with sliced avocado, a leafy shower of herbs, a brilliant layer of crushed peas and seeded bread made in-house.
This is the newest opening for Abrahanowicz, Ben Milgate and Joseph Valore, who essentially rule this block of Holt Street.
Their other venues (Porteno, Bodega, Wyno Store) are just footsteps away and their recently launched Bastardo restaurant is literally next door.
They've long reigned in Sydney for presenting food in a one-of-a-kind, personal way, and Humble Bakery is no different. The carrot cake features icing that's almost as thick as the cake itself – just as Abrahanowicz likes it.
The sourdough starter, developed by chef Francois Mignard for the bakery's opening in November, creates bread to the team's taste.
It's not too sour and produces a light crust instead of the teeth-breaking variety sometimes associated with toasted sourdough. "It's not as challenging on your jaw," says Abrahanowicz.
It translates nicely to a cheesy provolone toastie, loaded with kale pesto and three kinds of mushrooms (enoki, portobello and field or whatever else is in the kitchen). The eggplant parmigiana and the roast pork kimchi sandwiches, meanwhile, are served between house-made slices of ciabatta and worth ordering, too.
The pastry counter can feel like an overseas holiday: there's Humble Bakery's summery experiment in merging a classic Calabrian dessert with a ricotta cake: the result is a watermelon, cheese and pistachio pastry that disappears quickly if you don't pounce on it.
The Basque cheesecake, made with Meredith goat's cheese, is another counter star – it comes after years in the Bodega spotlight.
Then there's the spinach pie (torta pascualina), an Argentinian classic Abrahanowicz's mum would regularly make for the family. He's tweaked it so the pastry is thicker and flavoured with ricotta, and he drops a raw egg in the middle – whereas his mum would precook it.
It's not traditional to add a squeeze of lemon, either, but if you take the slice home and warm it in your oven, I reckon that extra citrus hit will make the pie even better.
Some things from Humble Bakery might be greater if smuggled home and given an extra blast of heat in your oven (such as the tomato pesto and cheese focaccia), while certain things are better in the moment, such as the inspired avocado toast, the excellent roast vegetable plate with the crispy, twice-cooked cauliflower, kasundi and hummus, or the brilliant strawberry gelato.
If your schedule allows it, the best time to arrive is just as the trays of cheesy focaccia hit the counter (around 11am or so) and before the cakes start to vanish (later in the afternoon).
But any time at Humble Bakery is a good time, whether you're sitting down with a nectarine tart, a just-grilled toastie or walking out the door with a bundle of well-made loaves to take home.
Where: 50 Holt Street, Surry Hills
Main attractions: Excellent sandwiches, pastries and loaves by the team that brought you Porteno and Bodega.
Must-try dish: The ever-changing pastries (grab the nectarine tart while it's around), the summer-friendly strawberry gelato and the inventive avocado on toast or sandwich options.
Insta-worthy dish: The nostalgia-inducing pink finger buns or the Basque cheesecake, the "it" dessert of recent years and a fixture at Bodega.
Drinks: From $4 for a regular Mecca coffee to $95 for a bottle of Moon chardonnay from Goulburn Terrace.
Prices: From $4 each for amaretti to $20 for a baked salmon salad.
Open: Mon-Fri 7am-3pm; Sat-Sun 8am-1pm.