For ages my parents had told me about the Glenorie Bakery on the outskirts of Sydney's northwestern suburbs. To be honest I thought of a little cafe with some small town charm and old style bakery fare but not too much more than that. After all, I'd been to hundreds of these as stop over points on long drives on family holidays.
What was so special about the bakery at Glenorie? Why did they keep going on about it?
Oh, perhaps that's why, it occurred to me as I walked through what can only be described as the entrance to a historical barn, completely kitted out in rustic-themed decor with antique farm equipment for cafe furniture and artistic display. And this most pleasant surprise had come after a refreshingly restful drive out of the hustle and bustle of Sydney, instantly putting me in a better frame of mind but without actually having to go too far from the Hills District.
With queues forming to place their orders for morning coffee, hot breakfasts or the delicious array of freshly baked goods, I felt torn between the need to save a table, review the expansive gourmet selection and the urge to just stand there and simply take it all in. For those of us with a historical bent, you'll find the museum quality of this foodie's heaven just as enchanting as the wide range of pastries and extraordinary cakes, making it a unique destination experience for breakfast, lunch, morning or afternoon tea.
And if you've ever thought bakery food can be a little bland, old-fashioned or just not very befitting of a new age diet, I would suggest the Glenorie Bakery might give you cause for a rethink. Quite apart from the stunning array of wholesome pies, claimed to be 'Sydney's best', and the modern spin on cooked breakfasts, there are gourmet wraps and hearty baguettes, filled with fresh meat and produce. I just couldn't go past the vegetarian wrap with fetta, olives and sun dried tomatoes and I was in taste-sensation heaven, capped off by the great quality barista-made coffee.
Whether you choose to sit alfresco in the front garden or shopping village, or inside at a table made from a farm implement admiring the hanging garden cum chandelier, you'll find yourself needing another visit to the counter even after you've finished your meal. There is just so much on offer to buy and take away with you from house-special sourdough loaves, to glorious gingerbread houses for Christmas, family-size pies and glacee chocolate cakes for that special birthday.
I have not enjoyed a Sunday brunch experience so much in ages. It was free of any city 'hotspot' pretension but still knew how to draw the crowds with honest to goodness fresh food, atmosphere and excellent service. I'm definitely going back… very soon!