My visit to Black Cockatoo Bakery wasn’t meant to be a review. I was passing through the Blue Mountains on the way back from Oberon, and remembered following them on Instagram because their croissants looked so perfect. Cue me, with just iPhone in hand, jumping out of the car to try one. I was so impressed with what I found, I snapped off a few photos...
Created with Pepe Saya butter, the plain Croissant ($4.50) at Black Cockatoo Bakery is truly a thing of beauty. My enjoyment at eating this buttery, well-shaped pastry was aided by the fact I got to watch former chef and now full-time baker, Alex Riviere rolling up the next batch of them while I queued.
Riviere immigrated from France and settled in the Blue Mountains with his wife. He began his Blue Mountains baking adventure by time-sharing a 120-year old Scotch oven in the wee hours at Vesta, a restaurant in Blackheath, until the new owners kicked him out in June 2017. This led to Riviere’s own digs - a minimalist but attractive shop in Lawson’s double-sided shopping strip.
Here you can eat your croissant the French way, dipped into coffee roasted by Wilderness Coffee Project, at a row of well-formed, blonde wood stools either looking out at passersby or looking into the open-plan bakery. If the weather is agreeable, you can also pull up a stump on the footpath outside - just be sure to lean a long way out when you bite into your Cinnamon Croissant ($4.50). While they pack a big, delicious brown sugar punch, they’re hella messy (as I found out in my car).
The tiny store’s metal shelves of bread are being depleted nearly as fast as Riviere and his team can bake bread to fill them up. Lots of the loaves I take home to sample are still warm, like the Fruit and Nut Loaf ($8), which is best served toasted with plenty of butter.
Despite being generously stuffed with nuts, figs and other dried fruit, you really get a big taste from the bread itself. The crust is so good, the oft-shunned end pieces are my highlight.
Olive oil, rosemary and salt-topped Pizza Bianca ($3.50) catches my eye as something different to try.
The triangular wedges of this flat bread prove just the ticket to accompany a roadside foraging find: gorgeous fresh field mushrooms. Fried off in olive oil and butter, this mushroom and bread pairing is perfect!
Of course the sourdough (pain au levain) is the real test. Here it’s handcrafted and slow fermented using a wild strain of yeast (levain) and organic stone-ground flour. Across a thin Baguette ($4.50) and a one-kilo Café White ($12) I’m impressed. The baguette is crusty and tasty, and the large loaf has a lightness to it and a reasonably even spread of air bubbles. I can see why it’s already on the menu at popular Blue Mountains cafes, Anonymous Café and Kickaboom (review forthcoming).
I suspect I will be stopping at Black Cockatoo Bakery every time I drive through the Blue Mountains.
Black Cockatoo Bakery
1 Staples Crescent, Lawson
Ph: (02) 4759 3745