Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Restaurant Review: Bakery Nights, Marrickville

On Saturday night I went to Bakery Nights, held at the Bourke St Bakery in Marrickville. Chef Katrina Hollis and crew take over the café for two Saturday evenings a month to host long table dinners.

Self styled as a 'mystery', the menu is revealed on the night. It sounded good to me so I booked a table for six and assembled a group of hungry diners.

I hadn't been to the Bourke St Bakery in Marrickville before and the café was smaller than I expected. I think I was expecting a large factory similar to Brasserie Bread. There were four large tables filling the room and one group seated outside too. Being a party of six we had one of the smaller tables to ourselves.

On arrival one of the efficient waitresses took our wine and placed it in one of the ice buckets located round the edge of the room. I thought the service was attentive throughout the evening, always keeping our water glasses and wine topped up.

Onto the food!

Polenta chips and olives

On arrival we were given share plates of polenta chips and olives. The polenta chips were a real winner at the table. The crunchy chips had a light texture (I can find polenta a bit heavy) and as every chip should be, they were nicely salted.

Bourke St Bakery Bread

As everyone knows the Bourke St Bakery sourdough is very good. In my current phase of project sourdough I'm enjoying flavoured breads. Some of the fig and barberry or spiced fruit loaf would have gone down well.

After the appetisers all of the food was brought out in share plates. Generally for two people to share.

Roast pumpkin, zucchini, basil and roast tomato lasagne 
with blue swimmer crab and olive salad

If the poleta chips were good the starter took it up a notch. Roasted pumpkin is one of my favourites. The pumpkin was soft and richly flavoured in between the layers of silky pasta. The lasagna sat in a deep and lightly spiced tomato sauce. The salty spanner crab provided an interesting contrast in flavour (if not texture).

My favourite dish of the evening.

Rabbit saddle stuffed with artichokes, tomato and red wine. 
Mushroom ragu on pearl barley salad

I enjoyed the rabbit main course, but it was a bit of an opinion divider at the table. The saddle of rabbit was moist which can by tricky to achieve. The strongly flavoured stuffing was the dominating force of the dish.

I think the thought of eating 'fluffy' was part of problem for some diners. The rabbit wasn't quite as delicate or as balanced as the other dishes. However, that's a reflection on how good everything else was, rather than a poor reflection on the rabbit.

Green salad

For me the mark of a good salad is it's dressing. I enjoyed the wine vinegar dressing that accompanied our green salad. We had a solitary small bowl of salad to share between the six of us. A second bowl would have been appreciated.

Cinnamon doughnuts with cherry parfait and rose water syrup

The dessert of Cinnamon doughnuts with cherry parfait and rose water syrup took us soaring back up to the heights of the starter. I seriously want to the recipe for the cherry parfait. It was thick, intense and no doubt insanely bad for you.

My only criticism is that we found the room got quite loud during the evening. At times it was almost difficult to hear the person opposite!

At $65 per person (byo drinks only) I thought the evening was good, but not outstanding, value.

Overall the evening was a fun concept that had been well executed. The food and service were both very good. It made for a great evening to catch up with friends. A trip to the toilets comes highly recommended as you get to walk straight through the middle of the bakery and the action taking place in the kitchen.

Bakery Nights (held at Bourke St Bakery)
2 Mitchell Street

Bakery Nights on Urbanspoon


  1. A big hello to the rabbit saddle. Wow. I'd love to try that sometime

  2. It is a whole new foodie experience dining out with a food blogger - heightened awareness of everything! I added the complication of the evening being Gluten Free (GF). Bakery Nights tried their best to accommodate and prepared the delicious lasagne sans pasta sheets then mixed through a salad...MmmMm. I did have trouble coming to terms with a saddle of "Fluffy" and it was served on a bed of barley (which when I last checked is not GF), so I did struggle through that a bit. BUT THE DESSERT WAS TO DIE FOR!! I am still thinking about...
    Looking forward to the next meal Rich.

  3. I haven't heard of these evenings, they sound quite interesting. Shame you you thought the value wasn't outstanding.

  4. those Polenta chips and olives do look really good.

  5. Thank you for putting Bakery Nights on your blog I am always happy to hear feedback both postive and negative so that I can continue to improve our evenings. For those of you who have read this blog and would like to hear more or to come along email bakerynights@gmail.com

  6. Polenta chips have are the new macarons. Only that I like polenta chips much more than macarons :)

  7. Jen, I agree. That dessert was sublime. I could eat that for breakfast.

  8. @Jon - I think it would be just your thing!

    Jen - I didn't realise the pearl barley wasn't GF. They could have used quinoa which would have worked just as well and been edible for you.

    Sara - they are great evening you should check them out with a small group.

    Simon & Lateraleating - the polenta chips were great. I prefer them to macarons too!

    Tina - thanks!

    Dave - I think the parfait could be eaten any time of the day...