When I was at university I worked as an assistant at ACT Public Libraries. I looked forward to my shifts at Erindale with particular enthusiasm because at lunchtime I could follow the hordes of Erindale College students into the shopping centre and join the long queue at the bakery for a fresh sausage roll and cinnamon donut (what sort of 19-year-old cares about nutrition?).
Not much has changed in the past six years. I arrive at 11am on a weekday, and although Coffee Guru, Donut King and Michel’s Patisserie are also in the vicinity, the only queue is for the Erindale Cakery Bakery next to Woolies. It’s a good sign – for as long as I can remember the bakery has had a strong Southside following.
The line is reasonably long, which gives me plenty of time to plan my order. In the windows are rows and rows of neenish tarts, gingerbread men, cinnamon donuts, iced donuts, chocolate croissants, fruit tarts and gluten free caramel slices.
I’m spoiled for choice, and that’s before I’ve even looked at the savoury options, which include pies of just about every flavour, sausage rolls, ham and cheese croissants and even hot dogs with the lot. It’s certainly not the sort of place you’d meet your paleo friend for coffee, but I think in this case the paleo devotees would be missing out.
I choose a beef and mushroom pie with sauce and a French vanilla slice and get plenty of change back from a $10 note (the whole meal only cost $7.90!). There isn’t much seating inside the centre, so I head outside and find a bench to eat. A note to those who have similar plans: The neighbourhood magpies are rather tame and have no issues with helping themselves to your lunch.
Meat pies are one of my favourite foods, and I eat them often enough to know what separates a good one from an average one: flaky and buttery pastry, big chunks of meat and rich gravy. (As an aside, I never order curry pies. Curries and pie-making are two different culinary art forms and I’m yet to discover a bakery that nails both.)
This pie has flaky and buttery pastry and rich gravy. The meat isn’t as chunky as I’d like, but since we’re talking suburban bakeries and not My Kitchen Rules, it’s no big deal. It’s a good pie.
The French vanilla slice is also delicious, but in my opinion vanilla slice is a lot more difficult to screw up than a meat pie. There were two thick slabs of custard wedged between light pastry layers and a generous dusting of icing sugar, and I scoffed the whole thing in about a minute.
For those who work in Tuggeranong, or live close enough to pick up a treat for lunch on the way to the office, Erindale Cakery Bakery is a pretty good place for a cheap feed.
What: Erindale Cakery Bakery
Where: Erindale Shopping Centre (inside, next to Woolworths)
Opening hours: 7am to 7pm, seven days per week