mary street bakery, highgate

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I’m a little late to the hype that surrounds the Mary Street Bakery. Since it replaced the now-defunct Soto Espresso on the Beaufort Street cafe strip in mid-2013, it’s proved to be hugely popular with locals and visitors alike.

We visited for breakfast on a sunny Wednesday morning in the middle of the Easter/Anzac Day holiday period. Walking towards the Bakery’s prominent pink neon sign, it was immediately apparent that the venue was bustling. Luckily, we snagged a recently-vacated table near the front window, softly illuminated by the mid-morning sun.

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Despite the demands of many customers, service was prompt and courteous. A staff member was quick to clear the table, taking our coffee orders before leaving us to quietly peruse the menu.

Something that immediately impressed was the Bakery’s commitment to using locally sourced, quality Western Australian produce such as stone-milled Eden Valley Biodynamic Flour from Dumbleyung, small-batch roasted Pound Coffee from Justin and Irene in O’Connor and Margaret River Free-Range Eggs from Jan and Kim Harwood’s farm in the beautiful south-west.

It’s a beautiful embodiment of the locavore policy, though I’d expect nothing less from a business owned by the creative minds behind Cantina 663, El Publico and ACE Pizza (full credit to them for their innovation, amazing food and general commitment to the local community).

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coffeeAfter toying over options such as baked eggs and custard-filled doughnuts, we finally agreed on boiled eggs with buttered soldiers and corn relish ($11), poached seasonal fruits with coconut yoghurt and granola ($13) and wholegrain porridge with fresh banana, toasted pepitas and honey ($14).

Whilst waiting for our food to arrive, Aaron ventured up to the bakery counter whilst my mother and I guessed the weight of a giant staghorn mounted above our table (that thing was big). The room’s soft conversational hum provided a soothing soundtrack as we sipped upon mellow, creamy coffee from Pound.

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Our food arrived in a timely fashion, elegantly presented and reasonably portioned. I was immediately absorbed by the vibrant hue of my poached fruit with thick, creamy coconut yoghurt. The rhubarb was a little on the crunchy, fibrous side but I was otherwise satisfied by the mix of grains, toasted nuts and soft, subtly sweet fruit. The mint leaves were both a colourful and refreshing touch.

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The soft-boiled eggs arrived slightly on the firmer side, possibly due to the demands of the holiday period. However, the bright free-range yolks were a wonderful accompaniment to crisp fingers of the Bakery’s organic stone ground bread and good French butter. My mother particularly enjoyed the dollop of house-made corn relish and flaked sea salt.

porridgeThe last dish that we sampled was the Bakery’s soft, creamy oat porridge with banana, freeze-dried raspberries, toasted pepitas and a drizzle of honey.

Unfortunately for Aaron, embedded in the creamy deliciousness were fragments of a particular food nemesis: banana chips. Now, speaking personally, I have nothing against crisp pieces of banana that have been dried in coconut oil. But for Aaron? Hatred would be an appropriate word. After some fleeting annoyance, he amiably scraped out the undeclared offenders before enjoying the rest of his rather beautiful porridge and fresh, sweet banana.

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As you may expect, the bakery items at Mary Street are rather exceptional. If you’re after the full experience, grab something to-go from their beautiful range of organic loaves, filled fresh doughnuts, pastries, meat pies and tarts (take a look at their Instagram feed for some samples). They also sell their house-made gluten free granola in 500g bags.

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All in all, Mary Street Bakery is an earthy, well-designed venue that caters for takeaway work lunches, relaxing Saturday brunch and afternoon tea with friends. Its friendly adaptability will likely make it a welcome fixture on the Beaufort Street strip for years to come.

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Mary Street Bakery

507 Beaufort Street, Highgate WA 6003

0499 509 300

Open: Mon – Sun, 7am – 4pm

 

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summer

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Its almost half past ten on Saturday morning. I’m sitting, bleary eyed, in a pool of white light flooding through our kitchen window. The warmth feels good against my tired eyelids; a nourishing, incandescent balm. I can smell the earthy fragrance of my herb seedlings toasting in the morning sun. Not ideal, but comfortingly ambrosial.

We went to the most beautiful of Christmas gatherings last night. It was hosted by my friend Alex, with a Spanish Feliz Navidad theme. We sat under a canopy of weathered tree branches and fairy lights, drinking sangria and spicy Tempranillo from patterned glasses. I neglected to bring a camera, so I’ll attempt to build a picture with words: imagine a balmy night, soft air drifting through tree branches as fairy lights gently dot the sky. Flamenco plays in the background as candles flicker against metal and glass.

We sit at a long timber table, plates generously heaving with orange scented chicken, spicy chorizo, beef meatballs and patatas bravas. Blistered broad beans rub shoulders with lemon zest, chilli and fried jamon as fragrant orange segments marry with blackened olives and red onion. Sweet juices are eagerly mopped up with woodfired bread. It’s a merry dance of food, music and conversation.

Towards the end of the evening, as the candles burned down to their wicks, we sat quietly drinking strong tea and the last remnants of sangria. Spoons scraped against earthenware bowls in a gentle rhythm, retrieving cold bites of vanilla bean ice cream, Pedro Ximenez soaked raisins and Alfajores Payes: chocolate dipped Spanish cinnamon cookies sandwiched with homemade salted caramel.

It was my plan to give you the recipe for Alfajores Payes today as part of the pre-Christmas weekend celebration; however, as I failed to bring a camera to last night’s event I have no photographs of the finished product. Here’s a mid-stage image of the cookie sandwiches to whet your appetite (post is now up via this link):

sandwiches

For the rest of this post, I’m going to share an eclectic range of images from the past few weeks as we’ve bid farewell to sweet springtime. Mornings now breathe a rhythm of heat and humidity, dappled sun and steaming bitumen. Dry grass crackles underfoot.

Summer has begun.

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Towards the end of November, we attended the Beaufort Street Festival in Mount Lawley. Public art, live music, scorching heat, dog shows, food vendors and sweating Australians in wife beaters and thongs.

Highlights for the foodie in me were spiced, Mexican cream slathered elotes and ice-cold Espolon Tequila slushies from El Publico. Incredible salted caramel ice cream sandwiches from Cantina 663 sold like hot (cold) cakes. frozenmargarita dinos biketable

We also played beer stack’ems at The Flying Scotsman beer garden. Plastic cups, many hands, torn coasters and a camera. We’re creative like that.

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For some reason there were stormtroopers, who must have been baking in their costumes. Seeking shade was a wise choice.

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Last weekend, we attended the very similar Leederville Carnival on Oxford Street, Leederville. The day was slightly cooler, softened by a cool breeze.

We drank strawberry lemonade at Duende whilst feasting on mushrooms and haloumi. We hunted for four-legged friends amongst chutney vendors, buskers and crowds of hipsters. I played I-Spy through pieces of fresh ciabatta.

leedystreet mushys breadglasses dogbin2Aaron and I also travelled to Fremantle for a day trip, in celebration of our second anniversary. We spied lovers on railway boomgates whilst feasting on ice pops from La Paleta at the Urban Locavore market, MYRE Perth. I chose cucumber and chilli, Aaron chose the rich, creamy coconut. So delicious.

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fence1We drank coffee at Ootong and Lincoln, home of the famous lentil burger that I mentioned in this post. You can spy the menu on the right hand side of the second picture.

ootongwall ootongcounterThe season of pavlova with thick Greek yoghurt (this one was made by my friend Erin), fresh-picked mint, plump berries and cider has begun…

HAPPY SUMMER to my Southern Hemisphere friends. Until next time (there shall be a recipe, I promise).

berries erinspav

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