Fyshwick is synonymous with many things, including a multitude of furniture stores, car yards and warehouses but apart from a few beloved eateries, it has never been known for good food. Since opening in March last year, Stirato Bakery and Cafe has been trying to change that.
Located on Iron Knob Street, just off Canberra Avenue opposite the Canberra Outlet Centre, it is in a strip of shops next to Jump! Swim Schools and Repco Auto Centre. With easy access and plenty of parking out the front, Stirato Bakery and Cafe is hard to miss with its yellow facade and signage.
The space is large, light and airy with the bottom floor offering ample indoor and outdoor seating options, both of which have activities set up for kids. The outdoor space, in particular, has a charming and inviting cubby house for little ones to play, decked out with a kitchen and a faux front yard.
Owner Peter Groeneveld has been a baker for over 25 years and still has a loyal customer base from his previous business, Bakery Culture, at Jamison Plaza. Peter takes his craft seriously and has a passion for one of life’s simplest pleasures, good quality bread. He specialises in the baking of sourdough, ciabatta and of course Stirato (a stretched out version of a ciabatta loaf that is usually compared to a baguette), the cafe’s namesake. He bakes all the items fresh daily and along with a full cabinet of pies, sausage rolls, quiches, cakes and pastries, they are all on sale behind the counter. Even if you just order a cup of coffee, you will find one of Peter’s complimentary shortbread, fresh out of the kitchen, to accompany it on the side. Beyond the bakery counter, the cafe also offers a full enticing breakfast and lunch menu which changes with the seasons and has a dedicated kids section.
We arrive for breakfast on a weekday morning to find the place buzzing, full of local office workers and tradesmen stopping in for coffee and a takeaway treat. Given the winter morning outside we decided to order two warm hearty options: the Zucchini, Corn & Haloumi Fritters with poached eggs, quinoa tabbouleh, seeds, beetroot romesco & lemon hummus dressing, and the Spanish Shakshuka packed with cooked eggs in a tomato sugo with chorizo, feta & red peppers with toasted sourdough and coriander yoghurt.
When the dishes come out, our eyes widen at the beautiful presentation and generous portion sizes. The first bite of the dishes instantly reveals the complex flavours and tasty combination Chef Matthew Henry has prepared. The Zucchini, Corn & Haloumi Fritters paired with the fresh zesty quinoa tabbouleh, seeds, beetroot romesco & lemon hummus dressing is a great union. While the addition of the fatty chorizo to the traditionally vegetarian Shakshuka is a much welcome inclusion on a cold day.
After we finish our meal, our attention is drawn to the mezzanine level which Peter and his wife Cindy have converted into a gallery space showcasing the works of local artists, called Stirato Gallery. The space is open to all and even has seating for those who want to enjoy a quiet coffee upstairs with Peter saying it is a popular spot for lunchtime meetings as people can still access the great food of the cafe whilst having the added privacy.
Stirato Bakery and Cafe is located at 1/21 Iron Knob St, Fyshwick and is open Monday to Saturday 7:30 am – 3:30 pm.
* Sophia dined as a guest of the cafe.