A family friendly cafe, opposite the Canberra Outlet Centre
Stirato Bakery Cafe is located in Fyshwick, opposite the entrance to the car park at the Canberra Outlet Centre. It captures your eye as you pull into the car park, with its large black sign and bright yellow façade shouting out to be noticed. I have often driven past it and wondered what it was like, however by the time I had parked the car, my goldfish memory soon forgot to go back. I'm sure I'm not alone in this scenario, with thousands of cars driving past it every day. On a cold winter's morning, however, my daughter and I decided to drive on further and park right out the front, interested to know what lay behind its dark windows...
Look for Stirato Bakery Cafe, as you turn into the Canberra Outlet Centre
The bakery, which only opened in March (2017), is also located next to Jump children's swimming centre, so it is a popular place for families to visit before or after swimming lessons. For this reason, there is a little "kids corner" with toddler toys, puzzles and chalk board to entertain the littlies. On our visit it also had a steady stream of customers who had just been to Repco a couple of doors down, making it a handy hub for many local workers, tradies, parents and locals. Starito also has a host of loyal customers who used to enjoy their bakery items in their previous business Bakery Culture, at Jamison Plaza.
Signage out the front, showing a taste of what's to come
The interior of the café has a simple, modern "diner" feel about it, with the main counter a feature as you walk in. It has high ceilings and a large window to the side, so there is a feeling of spaciousness in the eating area. With its clean white tiles and polished concrete floor, it gives the impression of modern simplicity. The blue behind the counter and on the children's bookshelf gives a "pop" of colour however, and the wooden tables and chairs give it some warmth - matched by the friendly staff behind the counter.
The long counter, with a delicious range of cakes, pies, sandwiches and bread to buy
Whilst at the counter, I had a quick peek at the menu, which had a wide range of All Day Breakfast items at reasonable prices (see photo below). On our visit, however, we had heard about their delicious cakes, so we were keen to try some of their homemade creations. The cake display is impressive, with glistening lemon meringues, chocolate éclairs, banana cakes, cream-filled carrot cakes, poached pear tarts and more. On top of the counter were also cinnamon scrolls, cookies, brownies, muffins, croissants and mini pizzas, fresh from the oven.
Whilst we were deciding what to choose, the lady behind the counter drew our attention to an apple pie that she had cut up into small pieces for tastings. There were also chunks of their sourdough bread to dip into oils, to try before you buy. Both were exceptional, however, the apple pie was a hit - with a traditional cinnamon apple filling and buttery pastry, the combination was a home-made flavour like something your Grandma would make.
My daughter and I chose the apple pie and the lemon meringue to share - which we devoured so quickly, I don't think we even stopped to take a breath! They were both traditional, flavoursome, generous in size and particularly filling. The lemon meringue, in particular, had us both scraping the plate for every last smear. We would easily go back there for more of the same, or buy them to take home for when guests come over - they are too good not to share! Coffees, using Single O coffee beans from Sydney, also come out with a cute and tasty shortbread biscuit on the side, which was a sweet touch.
What I enjoy about visiting small businesses in Canberra, is that you can feel the love and passion that they have for the products they create themselves - and Stirato is no exception. As more people discover their talents and range of handcrafted pies, sausage rolls and cakes to drool over, Stirato is sure to be a top destination for all bakery-lovers. It is also an alternative to the Food Court at the Canberra Outlet Centre, as it is just a short walk out the door and across the road. If you have small kids, it is also a quiet place to escape the busy shopping centre and sit with a cup of coffee and food, whilst they have a little play in the toy corner. This alone, for any busy parent, is priceless!
The wide range of delights at Stirato. Source: Original photos from Stirato Facebook