Pyrmont has a new bakery in its midst. Pioik (pronounced 'pee-oyk'), can be found on the picturesque Harris Street with its large front window. Standing by the window, you can see through to the bustling kitchen and watch the baking process unfold whilst waiting to make a selection.
Shady Wasef is the baker here and his passion is bread and baking. His journey began as Manfredi's apprentice, then as a sous chef in Melbourne's Yarra Valley at De Bortoli Wine Restaurant and again as Sous-chef at Manfredi at Bells of Kilcare.
To perfect his talents as a pastry chef specializing in traditional Italian deserts, Wasef spent time in the north of Italy, Brescia working with Mauro Scalia. With this new experience, Wasef began his role as pastry chef / Sous chef at Sydney's Osteria Balla Manfredi at The Star where he continued to work by Manfredi's side.
But I'm excited to see that Wasef's made his dream reality when he opened his own bakery, Pioik. Don't be afraid to ask questions as Wasef is happy to lecture you on the bread he bakes. There is a loaf of bread here weighing two kilograms, called the Epooro ('The King'). This loaf can be bought whole, or by the quarter to accommodate. Otherwise you're looking at options like seeded sourdough, durum sourdough - this is the same used for pasta and gives the yellow colour in the bread - and white sourdough.
For lunch there are sandwiches toasted to highlight the fillings and flatbread pizzas that are topped with fresh Mediterranean combinations. They also offer croissants, melt in your mouth almond croissants, orange and current twists, a lovely orange cake, as well as options such as grape schiacciata and chocolate tarts that keep my sweet-tooth satiated and are great with the coffee on offer.
Yummy treats on offer
Wasef has recently sourced Enkir, a type of small spelt that first appeared in the Middle East approximately 12,000 years ago. As a wild cereal it has a natural resistance to sicknesses and stress and as a result doesn't need fertilization or pesticides. This is why it is considered to be a true organic cereal. Its flour has a high protein content and appears surprisingly yellow, having a high level of caratenoids which are efficient natural antioxidants.
Shady Wasef's bakery
Wasef is one of the first in Australia to use this flour to make a simple bread which produces a beautiful golden colour. Wasef is a baker to watch, get in and try this before it sells out. Get yourself down to Pyrmont to try his delicious bread and pastries.