For this week’s taste off I sported my elasticated trousers and went on the hunt for Canberra’s Best pastries. I should clarify here that for me, pastries are sweet and generally eaten as breakfast or mid morning with coffee.
The two establishments to obtain the most nominations were Flute in Fyshwick (the winner of our cake challenge) and Silo Bakery in Kingston.
And so, in the name of searching for the Best, I went out and sampled both. To allow a fair comparison I selected a croissant, a raisin swirl (or escargot) and an almond croissant from each (I did have some assistance in the sampling and didn’t eat the lot myself – honest).
I started with Flute. A little oasis in Fyshwick, Flute is often talked about for their cakes. I hadn’t sampled their pastries before. As I stood at the counter, the urge to say ‘one of everything please’ almost overtook me. If it weren’t for the cash only payment system I may well have sampled the lot.
I sampled these ones with a friend of mine who is a self confessed lover of all baked goods. None of the wares looked out of the ordinary or more or less delicious than your regular pastry. We were in for a glorious surprise. Although the raisin swirl looked like it would be a bit dry and uninspiring, as we broke it apart the pastry flaked and crackled and revealed a sticky interior with juicy raisins sticking to the insides of the swirl. Mmmmm – smiles all around. We then moved onto the croissant. Again, it didn’t look anything special but as we broke pieces off, the pastry flaked and squashed to reveal a light, buttery ever-so-slightly crunchy on the outside croissant. Silence came over both of us, and then knowing looks. It was good. For me, it was the best croissant I’ve had outside of France (a pretentious and w*nky statement I know, but it was that good). The almond croissant was equally impressive without too much of a marzipan flavor and a light finish (I often find these a bit heavy and too sweet). It was dusted with icing sugar and very nice indeed. We were however still relishing the croissant, which really was quite something.
Next on the list (and two days later to allow my appetite to return) I found myself in Silo Bakery in Kingston. I confess, I had never been here before and felt like I’d wandered into paradise. My ‘almost 3 year old’ daughter was with me and her eyes were just the right level to take in the banana slices on top of a glossy looking tart. Her eyes widened and she let out a spontaneous ‘oooooooh’. She took in the delights in the case whilst I placed my order. The raisin swirl had a bready texture with more custard between the swirls. For me, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the Flute one but I do appreciate this may be a personal taste. I couldn’t pick much of a difference in the almond croissant. The silo one was equally delicious with a light almond filling, not too much marzipan and dusted with icing sugar (although the dusting was more of a blizzard). The final sample was the croissant, which if I had tried prior to the Flute tasting, would have been a triumph. But, as it stood it wasn’t quite as good. That being said, it was still one of the best I have tried outside of Europe.
On the basis of these three delights, I would crown Flute the winner. But, I will be back to Silo to sample their tarts because they looked pretty amazing.
If you are a lover of croissants and haven’t tried one from Flute, find some time to get there. It’s well worth the visit – just try to resist the other goodies on offer!