Last week’s call out for Canberra’s best bakery was one of the only call outs to receive more nominations for a NSW establishment than one in the ACT.
The Braidwood Bakery received a huge amount of attention, but given that this is the Best of Canberra series (and also I don’t have half a day to trek to Braidwood and back), we focused on ACT bakeries.
Autolyse in Braddon and Knead Patisserie in Belconnen got the most votes, closely followed by Erindale Cakery Bakery. Honourable mentions also go to Flute, Silo, and La Sable Patisserie. Looks like we are pretty spoilt for choice in the ACT.
I decided to judge each bakery on its sourdough bread, chocolate croissants, service and store layout.
First up, Autolyse in Braddon. This place is always busy and Saturday morning was no exception. I grabbed a loaf of sourdough and a chocolate croissant to takeaway. I like chocolate croissants warmed up but they don’t do that at Autolyse (apparently they don’t have a microwave) so that was a tiny disappointment.
I took it home and heated it up instead! It was pretty delicious. The pastry was light and flaky and the chocolate was luxurious.
The sourdough was fantastic too. I really love sourdough cut into tiny pieces and eaten with caramelised balsamic. Yum!
The service at Autolyse can be a bit hit and miss. I’ve experienced rude staff there before, as have many people on TripAdvisor so I had prepared myself for the worst. On this visit, the staff that I dealt with were very pleasant and did quite a good job of getting through a loooong line of customers very quickly.
As for store layout, it’s quite good. They have big bread baskets behind the counter with the prices for each type, as well as a large cake cabinet with all the cakes labelled clearly. The only downfall is, there are no prices on the labels in the cake cabinet. This might not bother some people but I like to know how much cash to have ready so I don’t hold up the queue rifling for extra change in my purse.
On to Knead Patisserie. I’d never been here before so my partner and I spent a little while wandering around the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets like lost children and nearly walked past Knead as it’s small and easy to miss.
We ordered a chocolate croissant to share, and my partner also ordered a coffee in a takeaway cup. We were sitting outside so my partner said he’d wait inside for the coffee. The staff member insisted on bringing it out, but never did. We had to go back in to get it and it had been sitting there for some time, so that was kind of annoying.
We’d also asked for the croissant warmed up and it was given to us on a warm plate, but the pastry itself was still cold. The croissant was delicious though! The pastry was sweet and there was a decent amount of chocolate in there.
After we’d finished, I wandered back in to grab a loaf of sourdough and take a proper look at the store layout. Knead has a big cake cabinet which stretches across the width of the store. Unlike Autolyse, every product has a price label here which is handy. The store is quite dark though, so you kind of have to take a really close look at everything to work out what you’re ordering.
I was waiting to order the sourdough when I had one woman push in front of me. I waited patiently, however two staff members ignored me and served people that came in after me before I pushed in to get the staff’s attention. It took me probably five minutes to get a loaf of sourdough. I found the staff a little dismissive – call me old fashioned, but it’s nice when people smile and use basic manners like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.
Anyway, I finally got my sourdough and went home. The sourdough was fantastic, and I think it actually might be a bit better than Autolyse’s sourdough. Slightly crunchy on the outside and the perfect texture on the inside.
All factors considered, the chocolate croissants were pretty much on par with each other, Knead’s sourdough is better, Autolyse store layout is better, Knead have price labelling, ordinarily I would have awarded the best bakery to Knead.
However, I can’t forgive bad service. This week, I’m awarding Autolyse the title of Canberra’s best bakery.