Friday, 15 November 2013

Sugardough bakery cafe - charming with a touch of vintage

Let me try to explain why I love Sugardough so much.  I love any bakery cafe but especially one that serves amazing bread and pastries with elegant vintage crockery.  It is the sort of place where pretty girls sip tea from bone china cups before picking up a fork to eat a dainty cake on floral plate.  At your table you might overhear someone talking about starting a blog about artists they admire.  On a weekend you might queue for a baguette, a bombolini or a batard but it is worth the wait.   Sugardough offers a perfect experience for all the senses.

I consider Sugardough an East Brunswick institution and was surprised to read on their website that they have only been there since 2004.  I guess they are part of the recent gentrification of this suburb.  I started going there for the amazing soft and sturdy sourdough bread with chewy crusts.

While writing up this post, I read that Sugardough has had a change of ownership in the last few years.  The quality of the food remains, though I think the place is slightly less crowded than it used to be.  Which means now I can get a seat rather than go to another nearby cafe because the place is packed to the rafters.  According to Let Me Feed You Melbourne, the former owners have opened a new bakery in Spotswood.

Then I discovered the sweet bombolini with a slight citrus flavour in the dough.  My favourite is the sort chocolate bombolini with its rich gooey ganache filling.  It fulfils my chocolate craving and bread craving all at once.  They are so good I could eat them every day.  Fortunately I don't live close enough for that!  If I want something to take away and I am not in the mood for sweet food, I turn to the savoury muffins.  I particularly love the pumpkin and feta muffins.

I wish I could tell you I have tasted all they have on offer.  On my most recent visit there was a plate of chocolate caprese cake - a generous rich cake with slabs of intense chocolate mousse between each layer.  Sylvia loves the cupcakes.  I always covet the fudgy brownies and the fruit slices.  I can vouch for the individual cheesecakes and the almond croissants.  There are usually also cakes and bakes for vegan and gluten free diets.

And I must mention the ducks.  Sugardough has adopted the duck as its logo that can be found at the front of the building and on its paper bags.  I love that you can even eat their logo.  There is always a jar of shortbread ducks with smartie eyes on the counter.  Sylvia loves these.

I should also mention that thee is a small space inside the door where you can select from an esoteric display of purchases such as jams and eggs.  At this time of year there are also Christmas puddings on offer.

While Sugardough excels as a bakery, it is much more.  If you squeeze past the queue you will find a charming wee cafe area with little Parisian style tables and a few larger wooden tables.  Look beyond the loaves and cakes, and you will see a counter of savoury quiches, tarts and salads.  There are pies and pasties in the pie warmer and they can make you up a panini.  I've had quiche in the past and enjoyed it but found it a bit eggy and rich for me.

Last year we had lunch at Sugardough on a cold rainy day.  I had a pumpkin pastie with cracked wheat salad and pesto pasta salad on the side.  The puff pastry on the pastie was amazing but I wasn't so keen on the Morroccan spices in the pumpkin.  The salads were nice but a bit cold for winter and too filling with the pastie.  E wasn't very happy about the small tables and the draft whenever anyone came in the door.  Sylvia enjoyed her muffin.

It can take a while to get to know a cafe.  It took me quite a while to discover that they have a charming little courtyard and that they serve amazing soup.  A month or so again on one of the first (and few) warm days of spring, I took Sylvia there for lunch.  Sitting in the courtyard was far more relaxed than the more crowded inside.  Like their indoors, it is a pleasant space with a wall of old plaste, lots of greenery and a large communal table.

I ordered the pumpkin and split pea soup.  When I suggested at the counter that I might need a muffin as well I was told it is very substantial.  That was wise advice.  It is not a smooth soup as I expected, but is chunky with the split peas left whole in the pumpkin puree.  It comes with a slice of lovely sourdough bread.  This lunch was perfect.  Even if Sylvia was reluctant to share her apple cider with me.  She had vegemite on a delicious bread roll.

The attention to details in Sugardough creates an elegance that make you feel like sitting in a European arthouse movie.  All the food is presented with style.  The bakery looks warm and welcoming on a gloomy winter day when I drive past and see people queuing inside for bread.  It is breezy and casual on a warm afternoon in the courtyard.  I highly recommend the place.

Sugardough Panificio and Patisserie
163 Lygon Street
East Brunswick VIC
(03) 9380 4060
www.sugardough.com.au

16 comments:

  1. What a great find and all the food looks lovely. Very homemade and wholseome, in the best of ways

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    1. Thanks Katie - it feels like quality home made - some better than others but amazing bread (and something GF for you)

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  2. I would definitely be won over by all these fabulous treats!

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  3. You always discover the best cafés! Anywhere with pretty vintage crockery instantly gains my approval! I need to do more exploring of the "tea rooms" here. We did go to a lovely vegetarian café for tea yesterday and I was so excited that nearly all the cakes were vegan! (They also had floral plates!)

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    1. Thanks Emma - alas I often feel quite behind in going to all the cool cafes in Melbourne as we don't eat out heaps and often we stick to ones we know locally which is why I write about sugardough that probably had a huge buzz years ago but is definitely not the latest sensation. Vegetarian cafes are great (I think I love bakery cafes because often so much is ok for vegetarians)

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  4. I love the little image grids - you can get a real sense of the mood of the place. You need to go back and tell us more about the vegan cakes - enquiring (and greedy!) vegans need to know!

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    1. Thanks Joey - I will have to check out the vegan cakes more closely just for you - I can tell you that on the website there is a raspberry and apple cake and a fruit oat and walnut muffin that are vegan. I think the menu changes in the cafe but am sure they would be some stuff to tempt you :-)

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  5. The shortbread cookies look tasty!

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  6. I love pretty bakeries too! I want to live in one, except that I might have to do the baking myself and I'd get way too fat. Must visit Sourdough when I am next in Brunswick.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - living in a bakery cafe would be great but I think I would become too fat to get out the door - too much temptation :-)

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  7. I'm so openly jealous that I can't get to this place! Melbourne does everything food related so well. I can see myself sitting here with a big pot of floral tea and a fluffy scone. <3 I also just noticed your blog updates from local bloggers. Awesome :)

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    1. Thanks Cass - melbourne isn't that far away :-) Though I am not sure if they do scones - must check. My blog roll on the right hand sidebar is how I keep up with blogs - well most of the ways I do

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  8. Individual cheesecakes and almond croissants yes.

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  9. Done well, bakery cafes can be among the loveliest places to visit, sit and eat. Clearly, Sugardough is done very well indeed. Your review and photos do it justice - it looks and sounds great.

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    1. Thanks Kari - yes Sugardough is a lovely place to sit and enjoy the food and the ambience - outside is relaxing but inside is great people watching

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  10. I love looking at elegant vintage crockery, too and what a cute bakery! Nice to know that they make and bake vegan & gluten-free cakes! The pumpkin & split pea soup looks tasty, and I want a piece of that sourdough bread!

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