Monday, 28 January 2008

Sydney Gastronome: breakfasts in Balmain

SIDENOTE: The next few posts will be about Sydney, as I was up there for four days last week for both a fun occasion (tickets to see Bjork's solo show on the Opera House steps) and then a sad occasion (funeral of I, the dear family friend we visited in December).

Swan dress at Bjork

Above is a girl lining up at the concert wearing a totally awesome replica she'd made of THAT swan dress. Bjork was amazing, well worth the interstate travel. But back to the food...

Adriano Zumbo Pâtissier
296 Darling St, Balmain (map)
(02) 9810 7318

The Little Marionette
1A Booth Street, Balmain (map)
(02) 9810 9728

Adriano Zumbo

In Sydney I was travelling solo and so I stayed with my cousins, both boys in their early twenties. In true bachelor pad tradition, their house had guitars, cricket bats, remote controls etc scattered liberally throughout but there was no food in the kitchen. So on two mornings I ate breakfast out in their local suburb, Balmain.

On the first morning I was wandering along Darling Street when this fabulous-looking little pâtisserie with artfully distressed walls and lots of gorgeous cakes caught my eye. It was called Adriano Zumbo.

Adriano Zumbo cakesAdriano Zumbo cakes

I liked the look of those chocolate ganache tartlets with macarons poking out of them, and my Thai tastebuds were curious as to whether the combination of coconut, kaffir lime and fresh pineapple would work in a sweet tartlet. But then I saw the quiches - supposedly all named after ex-girlfriends of Adriano, according to the friendly shop assistant - and my decision was made.

Quiche Sue

This is the Quiche Sue ($5), containing spinach, goats cheese and blueberries. Yes, blueberries.

Quiche Sue in crossection

Unusual yet delicious - the fact that blueberries aren't overly sweet helped. As you can see in the cross-section, it was a very spinachy quiche - perhaps a little too much so for my liking. Loved the pastry and the other flavour combinations though!

For a thorough analysis of the cakes at Adriano Zumbo, see Not Quite Nigella's post here. Apparently, the Zumbo folk have named one of their desserts after a food blogger who frequents the pâtisserie! Fellow Melbourne food bloggers, we should see if one of us can get the same thing done for us down here... :)

The Little Marionette

After munching on the quiche, I walked down to Gladstone Park and stumbled across The Little Marionette, a "Melbournesque" cafe that was evidently very popular - at 10:30am it was swarming with Yummy Mummies with ankle biters in designer clothing. But I didn't let them put me off... I'd read in both the Good Food Guide and the Foodie's Guide to Sydney that this cafe's banana bread was out of this world, so decided to return the following day to sample it.

The Little Marionette interior

The Little Marionette was less crowded on the Friday morning, but the three tables in the hole-in-the-wall space still filled up quickly. Luckily, the cafe has a nifty gimmick whereby if you order something and there's nowhere to sit, you are handed a picnic rug and invited to dine al fresco on the lawn in the park opposite. If you want to sit indoors, they'll wave you over when a table becomes free.

Breakfast at The Little Marionette>

The coffee was excellent, and only $2.80. Toasted banana bread was $4.50, plus an extra dollar if you wanted a side serve of passionfruit butter. I did.

Banana bread closeup

Yeah, this banana bread was the real deal. Lovely thick toasted slices studded with walnuts; the banana and the slight sweetness of the bread marrying the tangy passionfruit butter perfectly. I breakfasted at my table in bliss, reading the paper and feeling far, far away from my Melbourne office!

Bjork review in paper


Anonymous said...

Mmmm....toasted banana bread ((Homer Simpson-esque drool)).

That looks soooo good.

Truffle said...

Sydney is my home town but I feel like I'm seeing it with new eyes with your fabulous post. Delicious!

claire said...

It was, Mellie. It was.
If you find anywhere here in Melbs doing banana bread that looks anywhere near this good, LET ME KNOW! :)

Ooooh, chuffed to hear it, Truffle! This week has been hectic at work, but I hope to get the other two or three Sydney posts in the pipeline finished on the weekend...

ragingyoghurt said...

hello! i thought you might like to know, the banana bread at little marionette is made by zumbo. once, i found the best muffin ever at sonoma bakery in glebe, and it turned out they get their muffins from zumbo too.