One of the first things I had to try when I moved to Australia was the iconic Aussie meat pie. Tasting a meat pie was probably the biggest let down I encountered here too! I sampled several pies but found them to be dull pastries filled with a little meat and a peppered gray goo. Seriously disappointing. No wonder the average Aussie only consumes about a dozen meat pies a year. The locals tell me the only place to get a really good meat pie is Yatala. I'll put it on my bucket list, but for now, I am going to offer up my recommendation for the best little pies I've tasted so far. They call them baskets instead of pies and they can be found at Banneton Bakery.
I was dragging my overstuffed granny trolley full of groceries home when I walked past a little shop that has been out of business for a long time. I was surprised I hadn't noticed Banneton Bakery before, but they have just barely opened their doors. It's located in New Farm, on Brunswick, near Merthyr.
I was immediately drawn in by the general feel of the place, a comfortable, new but vintage atmosphere. The long, deep, narrow room, the floor with small white tiles trimmed with brown tiles, and the warm, green and brown furniture, accented by cases of really attractive looking treats; it all beckons you to come in and relax a spell. If that doesn't work, the aroma of fresh, wood-fired breads and Belaroma coffee will entice you to step inside.
Once you are inside, good luck getting out again without a bag or two of treats. Your best bet is to succumb to a cuppa and an enticing treat and plunking right down, then and there for a break. It's the kind of place that will put you in a "no hurries, no worries" frame of mind. Well, once you get past the overwhelming part of choosing from all the delectable choices. Their breads deserve a whole article of their own; fresh, delicious, wood-fired, whole grains, organic, nothing artificial, and so many choices, including gluten free.
I ended up with a couple bags of savoury and sweet selections to bring home. I hadn't planned on buying much of anything but they all looked so good and different from the dull, brown and white and puffy things I've become accustomed to ignoring at most little sidewalk bakeries. The girl at the counter was very helpful and friendly, carefully bagging up all my purchases. My husband had invited a friend over so I fixed a fresh, simple salad, to accompany all the treats I'd brought home for the three of us to try.
Banneton's savoury "baskets" have great flavour and lovely, not too thick crusts. I microwaved these at home but I think they would be best heated in an oven for a little bit because we all know what a microwave can do to some foods.
We sampled the Mexican basket, Guinness basket and Beef and Mushroom basket. The Mexican basket was really tasty with it's ground beef, beans, and the familiar chilli flavour that I miss from home. The Guinness basket was nice with it's tender chunks of beef, veggies and flavourful Guinness stock. The beef and mushroom was great too, but milder flavour than the Guinness one. I'm so happy to have finally tasted delicious meat pies/baskets in Australia. Now I'm really curious to go back and try out their Brekky Basket: bread with bacon, onion, tomato, two eggs and a little cheese. These baskets are affordable too, ranging in price from $5.50 to $6.50.
Banneton Bakery also carries a large variety of satisfying lunch items, including salami, mushroom, onion and feta filled stromboli, spinach and feta calzones, Quiche Lorraine and really fresh and delicious sandwiches.
I bought the chicken ciabatta sandwich; a great choice because we all loved it. The sandwich is wrapped with fresh ciabatta bread, which is the perfect thickness, so you don't feel like you are just eating a "bread" sandwich. It was stuffed with herb marinated chicken, red onion, feta, avocado, cucumber, tomato, aioli and greens. Such a tasty sandwich, we will definitely go back for this one. Most of these items run between $7.50 and $8.50
Their Cherry Danish with a sprinkle of pistacio nuts, in a cleverly designed, tender, flaky pastry is really nice. We really enjoyed the gluten free, Amaretto Cherry & Almond treat too. The outside is slightly crunchy and inside it has a wonderful, moist almond filling, hiding buried treasure; a candied, dark cherry. Perfect with a cup of coffee or tea. Speaking of which, you might want to try out their Chai coffee.
Banneton Bakery has an interesting assortment of sweet and savory selections, and I think you'll find their wide variety to choose from a bit of a happy dilemma, which can only be solved by returning regularly, so as to sample it all.
We went to try out the meat baskets and the coffee on Fathers Day at about 9.30am. One person sitting having breakfast inside, three staff members behind the counter and I got a warm coffee and microwaved baskets. Waited for ages and the baskets fell apart trying to eat them. I should have taken a fork. The basket had a nice flavour but we were very disapointed with the coffee. Dont nuke a pie they fall apart!!!