Lode Pies review

The best time to join the queue is 8am, when the full range is available.
The best time to join the queue is 8am, when the full range is available. Photo: Edwina Pickles

487 Crown St Surry Hills, NSW 2010

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Opening hours Thu-Sun 8am-2pm (or until sold out)
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Payments eftpos, Visa, Mastercard

When Lode Pies opened in Surry Hills in November, they didn't expect so many people to turn up. "We basically got smashed," says co-owner Federico Zanellato.

The team were pulling 700 pastries from the oven, placing them on display and then watching them disappear. Everything was gone within two hours of opening.

Ever since, the queues have been long: one line stretched for 100 metres, past the corner pub, with people waiting over an hour to step into Lode Pies.

The star pithivier from LuMi's degustation menu is filled with wagyu brisket at Lode.
The star pithivier from LuMi's degustation menu is filled with wagyu brisket at Lode.  Photo: Edwina Pickles

The sleek space by Larissa Leigh Interiors is a sign you're not entering an average bakery. It has the aura of a beauty salon that deals in high-end treatments and serums. Essentially, it feels like you're about to eat pastries in an Aesop store.

The designer look reflects the intense level of craft that goes into every croissant, tart and pie sent into the ovens.

It also partly explains the lines: you're queuing for baked goods by Zanellato, LuMi and Restaurant Leo's award-winning chef, and his co-owner Lorenzo Librino (also from LuMi).

Lode co-owners and chefs Federico Zanellato (left) and Lorenzo Librino.
Lode co-owners and chefs Federico Zanellato (left) and Lorenzo Librino. Photo: Jessica Hromas

The star pithivier from LuMi's two-hat degustation menu has been reimagined as the LuMi pie, filled with wagyu brisket instead of free-range Berkshire pork.

This dome-shaped pastry, which the French have made for centuries, is so tricky to execute it was off-limits to Zanellato when he was a junior chef in London decades ago.

He dreamed of being allowed to score the pinwheeling lines that adorn its puff pastry surface, but his first attempts at LuMi, in 2018, led to months of tears.

The Crown On 487 is a croissant-dough bracelet adorned with raspberry glaze, rose petals and pistachio crumbs.
The Crown On 487 is a croissant-dough bracelet adorned with raspberry glaze, rose petals and pistachio crumbs. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Sometimes the pithivier wouldn't puff properly, or stuffing would spill out of its trademark chimney or his hands would be bruised from laminating the butter into the dough with a rolling pin.

Now he has a dough sheeter, which makes laminating easier (and bruise-free), but producing the pithivier is still an involving process. To make 50 serves, it takes one person 12 hours a day.

Then there's the chicken jus, with reduced cream and shiitake mushrooms, that you pour down the chimney to fully flavour the pithivier.

Mr Peanut: a croissant swirl richly flavoured with peanut butter frangipane, caramelised banana, chocolate and toasted ...
Mr Peanut: a croissant swirl richly flavoured with peanut butter frangipane, caramelised banana, chocolate and toasted brown butter. Photo: Edwina Pickles

"The reason why we are charging $20 is because it's labour-intensive, it takes a long, long time to make it," he says.

The menu's cost doesn't just reflect the intense handiwork required, but his pantry of premium nuts, organic Wholegrain Milling flour and European butter.

The chefs still overload the blueberry tart with half a punnet of fruit, even when berry prices spike due to weather fluctuations.

You feel that charge of personal dedication through everything here, from the cumin-spiced and seed-studded top of the chicken and leek pie, to the caramelised pork mince in the sausage rolls that impressed the tradies who worked on Lode Pies' build.

Savoury pastry with 'nduja, eggplant and basil.
Savoury pastry with 'nduja, eggplant and basil. Photo: Edwina Pickles

There are no shortcuts, even the tomato sauce is house-made and has extra depth, tang and kick from the fermented habanero in the recipe.

Bite into The Crown On 487, a croissant-dough bracelet vividly adorned with raspberry glaze, rose petals and pistachio crumbs, and you might not realise the chefs can only make 30 of these a day – limited by the one special mould they own and the fact they can't find more anywhere, despite searching abroad.

Knowing the full story might make you appreciate it, but without it, Lode Pies still feels deeply special and worth any queue.

Blueberry tarts topped with a generous amount of berries.
Blueberry tarts topped with a generous amount of berries. Photo: Edwina Pickles

The low-down

Lode Pies

Main attraction Well-crafted pastries by Good Food Guide's 2017 Chef of the Year Federico Zanellato and his team. From specials (such as an excellent eggplant, harissa, Pecorino and basil croissant) to signature items (the Jin-ius remix of a pain au chocolat, with caramelised white chocolate, raisins and almond marzipan), everything is done to an impressive standard.

Must-try dish The LuMi pie is the star, but you should also meet Mr Peanut, a croissant swirl richly flavoured with peanut butter frangipane, caramelised banana, chocolate and toasted brown butter.

Instaworthy dish Mr Peanut or the Crown On 487, which looks like a giant piece of jewellery fashioned from croissant dough.

Drinks From $4 for The Little Marionette espresso to $10 for Chamomile, Lime Lychee Easy Tea.

https://www.lodepies.com/