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Published April 17th 2013
Break bread at this inner city bakery café
[ADVERT]Sydney has experienced something of a bread revolution in the past few years with artisan sour dough breads gaining huge popularity against the more traditional loaves. One only has to look at the numerous cafés, supermarkets and bakeries now stocking sour dough to get a feeling for the depth of change. In fact, it would probably be no understatement to suggest that sough dough bread has positively taken over Sydney, and one of the leaders of the pack is undoubtedly Sonoma.
This family business that started from very humble beginnings back in 1998 is now considered to be one of the best in artisan baking. Apart from their main business of making great bread they also produce Sonoma branded muesli and coffee. Furthermore, they have a number of retail bakery cafés throughout Sydney where their products can be purchased.
Sonoma Bakery Café Glebe can be found at 215a Glebe Point Rd. The 'a' in the street number might already have alerted attentive readers to the fact that this café isn't the biggest. In fact, it's more than a little cosy, and there's not a lot of space to sit down; there are benches along the wall as well as six little tables inside and even a few stools out the front (which due to the downhill slope of the street can make you feel as if you're sliding from your perch) but your chances of getting a seat around lunchtime are a little slim. But don't let that stop you from giving this place a try. For a start, Sonoma is located directly across from Foley Park, which is a lovely spot to sit and enjoy a coffee and a bite to eat. So if the café is full just grab a take away and claim yourself a patch of grass across the road.
Sonoma's bread is, well, their bread and butter. They have a range of 17 different types of loaf, each more mouthwatering than the last. The café doesn't always have all of their loaves in stock, but even if your preferred loaf has sold out, you can hardly go wrong trying out another. Using only organic flour and all natural ingredients, their loaves are nothing if not sublime. My personal favourites are the whole wheat miche and the German style seeded rye, although the rye spelt and the Kalmata olive loaves are also top notch. Actually, I've yet to try a loaf of theirs I didn't enjoy. If you're a bread lover and haven't tried Sonoma yet, what are you waiting for?
Sonoma also do great coffee, in all of the usual variations. Their coffee comes courtesy of Sydney's Single Origin Roasters, which means that it is fair-trade, responsibly sourced, and sustainable, so you can enjoy your caffeine hit with a clear conscience. They use a new blend every season - at the moment it's the Autumn 'Roaster' - and, coming from Single Origin Roasters (who are nutty about coffee), it tastes fantastic of course.
If you're stopping by for breakfast Sonoma offer paninis, toast, and their own Sonoma brand muesli. At lunchtime they have gourmet sandwiches (on Sonoma bread of course) and quiches as well as daily specials on offer. They also do great pastries; their croissants are good, their muffins are better and their 'downtowner', an orange cinnamon scroll, is a definite crowd pleaser.
Sonoma are very popular but that doesn't mean they are immune to criticism. Apart from gripes about the lack of seating in the café I have heard complaints that the staff can display a certain amount of attitude, and not necessarily the good kind. The usual charge is that they are a bunch of hipsters who display open contempt towards customers. While it's true that the staff is mostly comprised of hip young things, I think the complaints are exaggerated and probably say more about the attitude of those doing the complaining than of the staff. In my experience the staff are generally friendly, and at worst nothing more than casually indifferent.
Nevertheless, if you're one of those people with a hatred for all things young and trendy, that might be an issue for you. For the rest, enjoy your loaf!