Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Buppa's Bakehouse, Newtown

Mr FBC and I tend to hang out in the north side of Newtown (north of Newtown Station) – just because it’s close to where we live. Ok – we’re just lazy. So, it’s always interesting when, every so often, we decide to venture south of Newtown Station and continue down King Street all the way to St Peters. It’s amazing to see the everchaning nature of the retail strip with new shops popping up all the time. That’s how we found Buppa's Bakehouse one sunny Saturday afternoon back in February. Buppas Bakehouse isn’t that new anymore. It’s been open for about a year now and seems to be doing a roaring trade.  

Buppas Bakehouse specializes in American cakes and desserts. I’d sum up American desserts as being generous, not necessarily pretty like delicate petite French pastries, but definitely deeeeelicious in all it’s size and glory.  There are plenty of authentic Americana desserts available.

I chose to have a slice of good ol’ American Pecan Pie. Buppas take on the American classic is  a Black Bottom Pecan pie ($6 a slice back in Feb 2010) - a choclate pecan pie with a hint of bourbon and a butter crust. It was rich, caramel and nutty.  
Black Bottom Pecan Pie

Mr FBC had a slice of the Coco Lopez. I suspect he chose it due to the fantasitc sounding name. In actual fact, Coco Lopez was really banoffie pie in disguise. But I think I like the exotic sounding Coco Lopez. This take on the banoffie pie came with a coffee cookie crumble crust, dulce de leche, banana, coffee flavoured whipped cream and fresh ground coffee.

Coco Lopez
I’ve been meaning to make my own banoffie pie. Did you know it's meant to be short for Banana - Toffee? Am I the only one in the world that didn’t know that? I suspect I am :(  I’ve bookmarked a banoffie pie recipe from grab your fork to try sometime soon, but the requirement to boil cans of condensed milk sounds a bit ominous to me.

As a bit of an afterthought, Mr FBC and I decided to takeaway a red velvet cupcake ($4) to share later. The colour of the cake is a dramatic and deep blood red colour. I’ve never tried one before but read about it on various blogs. The cake has a hint of a chocolate and is super crumbly, but the winner for this cupcake is probably the super creamy and soft cream cheese icing.

As you may have guessed from the photo (and the huge bite from the cupcake)... we were too impatient to get home before tasting the cupcake and feverishly gobbled it up in the car.

Red Velvet Cupcake

Buppa's Bakehouse
482 King Street, Newtown, 8065 0681.
Wed-Fri, 11am-6pm; Sat-Sun, 9.30am-6pm.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Breakfast Degustation at Le Monde Cafe, Surry Hills

Unlike me, Mr FBC isn’t very demanding. He’s a very easy going guy and is one who's happy to 'go with the flow' - generally flowing in my direction! However, I know he really wants to do something if he mentions it at least 3 times. There are two things he has recently mentioned more than three times:
1. He said he’s keen on getting an IPAD. I’ve argued that it’s not quite a computer and not quite a phone so I don’t see the point. He disagrees. He’s yet to buy one though.
2. He said he’d be interested in trying the breakfast degustation at Le Monde in Surry Hills. My eyes lit up upon hearing him tell me about it the first time.  A degustation meal… but at breakfast? ‘Wow’, I said. By the time he mentioned it the third time, I’ve already thoroughly researched the place (well… checked out the great post by
 the unbearable lightness of being hungry) and I'm ready to dial the number and make a booking.
When I called up and booked, I’m told that the breakfast degustation is available on Fridays and Saturdays and costs $35 per person. I think there are 3 or 4 sittings (starting at 9am), with a maximum of 5 people at each sitting. I did ask if we could get a table of 6 but was firmly told that there was definitely 5. I was a bit perplexed at this but I think it must have something to do with the capacity of the kitchen.
Our partners in crime on this Fat Belly Club adventure to Le Monde on this  Saturday morning are good friends, Mr Ziwawi and Ms Cris. Our waitress arrives and gives a quick run down on the breakfast degustation menu.  There are three courses and two types of coffee to try.
Le Monde Breakfast Degustation Menu (as of 2 Sept 2010)
The first dish to try is the Granola and watermelon with black olives, frozen grapes, vanilla bean yoghurt and mint. This dish is the prettiest thing I have ever eaten at breakfast. It feels too refined for breakfast. The cool watermelon and flash frozen grapes are a nice wake up call on this grey and slightly overcast Saturday morning. The creamy dollop of vanilla bean yoghurt is rich and goes well with the granola and the crumbly black olive 'soil'. 

Granola and Watermelon
Our first coffee for the day is a filtered coffee made by the Clover. Mr FBC and I do like our coffees (Campos Coffee is up the road from us, so our standards are high). However,  we wouldn’t profess to know too much about the ins and outs of coffee making.  I've always thought filtered coffee was what you had if you're in the US (where you can only seem to find half decent coffee at the ubiquitous Starbucks!) or if you're in McDonalds desperate for coffee and there isn't a McCafe.  
Filtered Coffee and THE Clover Coffee Machine
At Le Monde, they make the coffee with the latest and greatest of coffee machines, the  'Clover' - which costs $11,000 and allows the user to control water temperature, water dose and extraction time. The machine allows baristas to tailor each brew and bring out the different 'floral' qualities of the coffee. Le Monde's barista arrives at our table to bring a carafe of filtered coffee for us to taste. There's also a little bowl of coffee grounds for us to smell. The barista explains the way it was brewed - the use of a siphon, piston, steam, filters. Apologies for the lack of detail - it was a bit too technical for my brain on this Saturday morning.  

The coffee is meant to be quite an earthy flavour with overtones of capsicum.  The barista leaves us to taste the coffee with a final recommendation to sip the coffee slowly over 10 minutes, but warns that it may get very bitter if it gets too cold.  The colour, a muddy brown,  tricks you into thinking you're about to drink a very strong tea. The taste isn't of tea - but perhaps a very weak coffee. There are defintely floral qualities. Ms Cris and Mr FBC thought the coffee tasted like very weak tomato soup. I tasted a bit of spice... but perhaps I'm just thinking about it too much. I've never analysed coffee to this much detail. It’s definitely interesting to try, but I’m not sure if I’ll be swapping it for my regular skim latte.
The main course is the ‘B L A T’… or what we’ve been told is the deconstructed BLT (bacon lettuce tomato) comprising of confit pork, soy linseed toast, tomato paper, avocado mousse, dehydrated kale, plus horseradish. This dish looks incredible and taste sensational.
'The B L A T' - deconstructed BLT
The 6hr cooked confit pork was beautiful, tender and easily pulled apart.  We’re intrigued with the tomato paper and dehydrated kale. I can only guess that the tomato paper would be something you’d give to astronauts in space in lieu of tomato sauce. It’s odd… but it works - it just melts in your mouth. The kale is adds a nice crunch. The avocado mousse is light and fluffy and the lemon jelly is a interesting addition. A bit of zing. The waitress tells us that the chef recommends tasting a little of each component, and then just eating the rest of it as normal sandwich. Makes sense. We try it that way – and it works. Yum.
The constructed version of the 'deconstructed BLAT'
To finish our main 'breafast' course, we are offered our second coffee. However, this  time  the choice is ours.  It's the usual lattes and cappucinos all round.

Our last dish, the breakfast dessert (iced coffee, blue berries, salted pumpkin seeds and chocolate), comes out in individual glasses. We’re told the chef will come out to put on the finishing touches. Sure enough, the chef comes out and pipes the iced coffee cream on top and sprinkles the dessert with grated chocolate. It’s a lovely way to end our meal. We all love the light and creamy iced coffee which contrasts beautifully with the juicy blueberries and salty pumpkin seeds.
Iced coffee, blue berries, salted pumpkin seeds and chocolate
I’m pleased to say we were suitably satiated from our degustation meal but not stuffed. I’m sort of glad though as it’s always really unnecessary to get so full from degustation. full (but not stuffed).
The chef, Chris Merrick, is ex Oscillate Wildly (in Newtown)  which helps explain the creativity and explosion of flavours behind the breakfast. This is the only place that I know of in Sydney that does a breakfast degustation. Having said that, the normal breakfast menu looked equally salivating and different. Try it - you won't regret it.
Is there anywhere that you've been recently where the breakfast was different and a bit off the beaten track??

Le Monde Cafe
83 Foveaux St, Surry Hills
(02) 9211 3568
Open Weekdays 6:30am-4pm; Sat 7am-2pm