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Published January 12th 2017
Update September 27th 2017
The venue is permanently closed and no longer trading
Local bakery with French charm
With barista chains and bakery franchises proliferating by the day, it is ever so refreshing to discover an independent coffee shop with warmth, charm and unique offerings.
Since November 2015, Bread and Roses Boulangerie in Narrabeen, has brought authentic French patisserie fare to the lakeside shopping village. It's built a loyal following of customers, devoted to their daily coffees, freshly baked sourdough loaves, tasty pies, and sweet afternoon treats.
Life-time bakers and business managers Veronique and Patrice, welcome new and existing customers to Bread and Roses every day, with personalised service, a friendly atmosphere, great staff and above all, an enviable range of traditional French pastries and bread, made on the premises, under the auspices of their daughter and skilled pastry chef, Vicky.
Veronique and Patrice bring warm service and baking expertise to Bread and Roses
Hailing from France, this family understands the science of great bread and adapting to the local climate, will even alter the consistency of their dough mix every day, depending on the humidity level in the hot Northern Beaches weather. Ever ready to share her passion for the art of bread, Veronique educates me that the crustiness of the sourdough baguettes is affected by the humidity of the day. Though everyone loves a good crunchy slice, I'm quite partial to the ever so slightly softer texture of Aussie-made French bread and there were certainly no complaints when I served the sourdough for lunch yesterday. The family raved about its freshness and taste!
Bread and Roses is based on an admirable philosophy of organic ingredients, use of local suppliers and producing only what is needed to meet the demand of custom for that day. Any baked goods that are left at the close of business, are collected for charity, so there is no wastage. The tip is to come in early each day for your fresh sourdough loaves, traditional baguettes and crispy pastries, especially on the weekend when supply is greater but demand is especially high.
Now let's talk about the house specialties. The Botanica Organic Fairtrade coffee is beautifully brewed and to quench the thirst on hot days, the bakery is supplied with an original range of cool bottled drinks from local business All Organic.
And as for pies, the range looks fresh, crisp and golden brown in colour, as hot pies should be. Apart from the traditional recipes, Vicky adds a French touch to the menu with beef bourguignon and ratatouille for the foodies. Or, if you needed any more incentive to try the gigantic croissants, the current daily special is $5, partnered with a coffee. What a bargain for breakfast.
Of course, the fresh loaves have already been mentioned but the 'fromagette', or cheesy baguette, deserves a special shout out as the after-school snack of choice for local school kids and other young fans. And last but not least, the carefully curated range of cakes including Peter's French pudding (a tribute to the bakery's beloved former chef) and my son's personal favourite, Victoria's chocolate lamington. For those who are not partial to the traditional coconut recipe (god forbid!), this adaptation is a revelation and very reasonably priced at just over $3.
So, for any Northern Beaches locals, or visitors to the area, why not stop by and say 'bonjour' to the team at Bread and Roses (it's next door to Australia Post). They will love it if you ask for their recommendations on the best accompaniment for your coffee and you can eat-in, or take-away. It's certainly left a pleasant taste in my mouth and has quickly become my favourite local coffee shop, with the added benefit of a sophisticated range of tasty baked goods.
For more information, you can follow Bread and Roses on Instagram: @the_frenchies_bakers or @Vicky_pastry.