I don’t get very many days off. And even less so when the day isn’t an official public holiday when everything is closed. There’s a place that has been on my bucket list for a long time but in the three years I have been in Canberra, I have never been able to make it at a time when it isn’t closed (pretty much any time it is convenient).
The Flute Bakery in Fyshwick is touted as arguably the best bakery in Canberra. It’s open 8am-3pm weekdays and have no EFTPOS facilities. And it’s in the middle of an industrial/car workshop area making it hard to find a place to park. Bloody hell. Are they trying to scare people away or what? But to no avail because when I woke up this morning (having planned the trip weeks before) it was all I wanted to do.
The bakery wasn’t as hard to find as I thought it would be but the signage is modest, neutral and French-looking (not very eye-catching, really). The road is a busy one; parking on the street is near impossible (even for a master reverse parallel parker like me) and by no means should you use the customer parking for the Good Guys/pet store even though it is directly across the road (ahem).
The alfresco area at the front of the bakery looks like it would be a lovely place to enjoy a morning coffee and treat in the sun. Inside, it is simple in French bakery way. I’m surprise to find a line of about six people ahead of me. Remember, this is 11am on a Monday!
I looked around. Everyone was about 30 years older than me and I was not surprised. Unless you are a retiree or in a another role that doesn’t require you to be at work from 9-5, then it’s unlikely you’ve had the pleasure of coming here. I’m still confused as to why they don’t open weekends (almost as confused as to why Silo doesn’t open Sundays) but when I see how busy it is, it dawns on me. If this is a Monday, how would this place handle a Saturday or Sunday morning? It probably couldn’t.
After joining the line, I look at the cake counter and panic. There’s barely anything left! This is not good. So from the end of the line, I do that awkward thing where you lean over to see the cakes more clearly while ridiculously still holding one leg in place to keep your mark in the queue. I almost fell over three times.
The line was moving but cakes were disappearing at a remarkably rapid rate. I was on edge so when the nice man finally asked if he could help anyone, I almost pushed a retiree to the ground to get to him.
The people serving were really lovely and once I got to the front of the queue (and by then I just picked from the scraps they had left) they packed everything quickly and I was out in a few minutes. I left the bakery $30 poorer but heavier with cakes, macarons, a pie and a loaf of multi-grain sourdough (despite complaining to the boyfriend over the weekend about how over sourdough I was).
I rushed home with my loot and quickly put everything on nice clean plates so I could photograph them. Oh comon, we all know this is what happens. These things don’t fall out of their packets looking like this.
First victim is the chicken and leek pie (as it’s approaching lunch time) and it is delicious. The pastry is flakey and buttery; filling creamy and thick. And you know what? Massive chunks of real chicken inside. This is a real pleasure to eat – no tomato sauce required!
The Madagascan vanilla and hazelnut salted caramel macarons were some of the best I have ever had (yes, even ones in France!); formed perfectly with gorgeous creamy fillings. The salted caramel could have done with more salt but otherwise was very good.
At this point, I’d had enough. Despite increasingly (to my chagrin) becoming more of a sweet tooth, I have a surprisingly low sugar tolerance. That is, I can’t have very many sweet things at once; it’s just too much for me.
Later tonight, I decided to try the Raspberry Charlotte cake and the Ingot/Inglot (? I can’t quite remember what it was called).
The Raspberry Charlotte cake is right up my alley. Flawlessly tempered thin white chocolate encases decadent white chocolate mousse, chocolate cake and a deliciously tart raspberry filling. Gorgeous.
The Inglot is a vanilla and chocolate mousse cake on a super crispy base. Not too sweet, this cake literally melts in your mouth but the texture of the base and crunchy balls sends this off into another dimension. What a pleasure.
If you haven’t been to Flute Bakery, I would highly recommend it (yes, even if you have to take a day off) because it really is phenomenal and absolutely worth it. Go with a friend so you can get twice as many cakes and get a fuller range of tastes.
Or just do what I did and buy them like they are going out of fashion. After all, this could have been a once in a lifetime visit.