I'm not a morning person, but if there's one thing that I will wake up early for, it's food.
Work took me Canberra a couple of months ago (hello backlog), and if there was one place I was determined to visit it was Silo Bakery. It was surprisingly easy to convince my office colleagues to join me on post-work eating adventures - 'so where are we eating tonight, Helen?' they'd ask.
It was even better when I managed to swing our Canberra colleagues to head out for lunch in Kingston - Silo Bakery firmly in my sights. Unfortunately we had underestimated its popularity and arrived at 1pm to find out there was a half-hour wait for a table. We lunched elsewhere instead and returned for dessert.
Silo pastry counter
Silo Bakery is known for its artisan breads, pastries, cheese room and breakfasts. The flow of customers here is non-stop, and the dining area - mostly a long narrow stretch along one wall that extends to a back room - is filled with locals cradling cups of coffee, chatting with friends or engrossed in the newspaper.
Flaky crossiants, buttery brioche and an army of tarts beckon us closer from the display case. We share a selection of sweets between us, including rhubarb danish, banana caramel tart, lemon tart and a chocolate and chestnut tart.
Banana caramel tart $5.50
The banana caramel tart is my favourite, a thick layer of dulce de leche beneath a caramelised plate of toffee, topped with a submerged raft of fresh banana.
Lemon tart $5.50
The lemon tart is zingy and light beneath a snowfall of icing sugar, more pronounced in flavour than the the chocolate and chestnut tart which is more cakey in texture with surprise finds of chestnut puree.
Chocolate chestnut tart $5.50
Our flight back to Sydney the next day leaves at 8.30am but I figure we can probably just squeeze in breakfast beforehand. This is how I come to be standing outside Silo Bakery at 6.50am on a cold Canberra morning, waiting for the shop to open.
To our surprise, we find ourselves joined by a dozen other locals, piling in as soon as the doors open and stocking up on fresh bread or ordering takeaway coffee.
Sourdough toast with jam $6
We settle in with menus at a table. The breakfast options are dizzyng, from the piperade Basque omelette with chorizo; to the Welsh rarebit, egg, sausage and spinach; and the baked eggs with washed rind cheese, celery and walnut toast.
Fried eggs, bacon and mushrooms $15
Between us we order the sourdough toast that is simple but rewarding, served with a slab of butter and a dish of chunky strawberry jam, and the fried eggs, bacon and mushroom, a bounty of protein and B vitamins on a plate.
Chilli jam, roasted tomatoes and poached eggs on bruschetta $15
I opt for the chilli jam, roasted tomatoes and poached on bruschetta. The poached eggs look rather promiscuous, perched across two slices of toasted sourdough, but it's the chilli jam that steals the show, surprising in its salty sweet intensity with a chilli after kick that lingers on the palate.
Silo Bakery walk-in cheese room
It's never too early in the morning for a stroll through the walk-in cheese room either. As soon as someone enters the cheese room, the escaping aromas of pungent blue cheeses slowly drifts across the dining room in tantalising tendrils.
Mothais sur Feuille goats cheese $18.50 each
There's an impressive collection of Australian and European cheeses, each stacked and labelled neatly on wooden shelves.
Truffle butter $20 each (available in truffle season only)
I want one of each, but resist - smelly cheese is never a good idea on a plane. I do leave with a souvenir - a sturdy loaf of Kingston white sourdough that sits very quietly in the overhead locker on the trip back home.
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36 Giles Street, Kingston, Canberra ACT
Tel: +61 (02) 6260 6060
Open Tuesday to Saturday 7am-4pm
Lunch 11.30am-2.30pm (12pm-3pm on Saturday)
Lunch bookings are recommended
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Canberra - Mecca Bah (Moroccan)
Canberra - My's Vietnamese Restaurant (Vietnamese)
Canberra - Pancake Parlour (breakfast)
Canberra - Senso Restaurant (truffle lunch)
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12/29/2010 03:19:00 a.m.