It's the smell of butter and sugar that hits me first. The heady aroma of caramelised sugar, chocolate, freshly baked bread and buttery pastries soaks its way into every pore as I stand at the doorway, on the brink of dessert delirium.
La Banette is easy to miss if you're walking down the other side of Glebe Point Road. Once you know it's there, however, it's hard to resist a detour. This rustic French bakery is bursting with delectable treats.
This is the second La Banette bakery by husband and wife team, Vince Luong and Uyen Le, adding to their Avalon original. The Glebe shopfront gave them the opportunity to custom design the premises, a mix of butter yellow walls and distressed wooden shelving in eggshell blue.
Sultana scrolls and crossiants
We've tried several of their breads, with favourites so far including the raisin bread and the rye and caraway loaf.
A set of swing doors separate the kitchen from the service area, and freshly baked pies are often left to cool on the front counter.
Ratatouille quiche $4.50
Quiches, pies and pork and veal rolls are all $4.50-$5 each. If you want to eat in, you can grab a seat at one of the wooden benches, although eating with the provided plastic cutlery can be a bit fiddly.
Ratatouille pie is chock-full of chunky vegetables, and the quiche Lorraine is generous with cubes of ham sliced off the bone.
I'm amazed by the amount of meat packed into my beef and burgundy pie, shreds of beef that flake apart easily, although it probably could have done with a little more gravy.
Creme caramel and mille-feuille
We're tried more desserts than I care to confess. I went for the giant almond biscuits featured in the first photo, crunchy with flaked almonds and slathered on the base with dark chocolate. Giant fluffy white meringues are folded over with flaked almonds too, the insides soft as marshmallow.
The tart shell holding the creme caramel makes for easy transportation, and the mille-feuille is a sigh of flaky pastry layers and smooth vanilla custard. One day we had an amazing coffee gateaux. The signature addition to most desserts is a garnish of green tea chocolate.
What's striking about this shop is the care and pride in every dessert, and the consideration given to how each one is placed on display. This isn't a manufactured attempt to create a stylised experience. It's all about the food, and the love put into each and every product.
We're slowly making our way through every dessert. I know we'll get there. Staff were very friendly about allowing photos, so here's just a taste of what's on offer:
Green tea cake
Pastry display case
Mille-feuille, chocolate fig tarts and lemon meringue tarts
Chocolate and raspberry cake
Petit fours $12 a box
Strawberry tarts and mixed fruit tarts
Lemon meringue tarts
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La Banette Patisserie Boulangerie
Tel: +61 (02) 9918 2948
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4/11/2011 01:47:00 a.m.