Monday, 21 October 2014
Flour and Stone is a teeny, tiny little cafe located, as far as most city locations go, in the middle of nowhere; that weird vacuum of space on William Street between Hyde Park and King’s Cross. But that hasn’t prevented it from becoming the destination of choice for inner city dwellers and far beyond. With barely enough room for four modest tables (and a fifth outside), it’s not uncommon to see a queue of patient customers extending out to the street, eager for a taste of their cakes and other baked goods.
Everything about Flour and Stone is awesome. The panna cotta lamingtons, the salted caramel tarts, the home-made pies, the knitted hats with bunny rabbit ears that they put over their hard-boiled eggs… It’s an incredibly popular place to get custom cakes and wedding catering. Even the little dog that decided to take a dump outside right at the moment I took a photo of the place (see below) is awesome.
Today’s trip was for their hand-iced gingerbread, which often changes in shape and design to match whatever is seasonally appropriate – so naturally I was presented with a selection of Christmas-themed shapes. They were all neatly stacked on a shelf off to the side of the main counter… It may have been arranged to look like an advent calendar, but it hardly seems important.
The first thing I noticed is that it seems to be the only style of cookie on offer at Flour and Stone. Most other places offer a range of nuts, chocolate and whatnot, so I thought it a little odd to put the entire cookie burden on something as pedestrian-sounding as gingerbread.
I needn’t have worried: Flour and Stone’s hand-iced gingerbread is a revelatory and thoroughly arresting experience.
The gingerbread is soft and moist, with almost no coarseness to its texture. The icing, which holds the cookie’s shape, is perfectly balanced against the rich spices infused into the cookie dough, producing a satisfying crackle with every bite.
The real reward comes after a mouthful of the gingerbread has gone down the hatch – the spices linger in your mouth like a warm after-glow, which is a nice contrast to the overall sweetness. This is a cookie to be savoured slowly, perhaps with a hot drink.
I want to say something superlative like “this is the most exquisite gingerbread I’ve ever had”, but the natural smart-ass response to that is “you mustn’t have had very much gingerbread before.”
I guess I’m fine with both statements being true. At a minimum, it’s lightyears ahead of the stuff they have at Grandma’s Little Bakery. Either way, I bought another one for later.
Rating out of 10 (where 10 = ermahgerd this is amazeballs; 5 = meh; and 0 = I want my money back):
10 – Exquisite. Every piece of gingerbread I have from now on is going to be compared to this.
Where: Flour and Stone, 53 Riley Street (off William Street), Woolloomooloo NSW 2011. It’s a solid 15-minute walk from St James, Museum and King’s Cross Stations. By bus, the 200, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, L24, 311 and 461 stop within walking distance. Local parking is scarce.
How much: $4.50 each.
About Kevvie’s Cookie Safari: People have been telling me for years that my wife’s chocolate chip cookies are the best they’ve ever eaten. It didn’t occur to me until now to test the claim. But if you’re interested, she uses a Jacques Torres recipe from the book ‘A Year in Chocolate’.