53 Riley St
Ph : (02) 8068 8818
Hours : Mon-Fri 7am to 4pm. Saturday 8am to 2pm.
For fans of Nadine Ingram's Cookie Couture gingerbread (made, for years, by her husband Jonathan, chef at Verandah), the news that she was about to open flour and stone in the old Sweet Infinity space was eagerly anticipated.
When we visited at lunchtime on their first day, there was clearly a lot of baking going on in the kitchen. Cookie Couture’s wares are now being made in Woolloomooloo, so if you buy your gingerbread there, it’s not only likely to be incredibly fresh, but you’ll be able to buy them in single portions, which is now impossible to do at their retailers, who seem to only stock gift packs. As well, there are giant gingerbread designs available, for those days when you really need a giant piece of gingerbread.
Flour and stone will have some core items, combined with daily specials, including sandwiches ($6-$10), a savoury tart, and both small and large baked goods.
A small space filled with fresh peonies and natural light with seating for about ten people, flour and stone serve Alchemy coffee and Rabbit Hole tea. Thankfully, on this sweltering day, they are also air conditioned.
Whilst waiting, I started with a plain croissant. I find that it's difficult to get a good croissant in Sydney. I like mine very buttery and very flaky. The ones here are definitely some of the better ones I’ve had in this town.
We shared two of the sandwiches between three of us. The bread is from Luxe, the fillings fresh, tasty and generous (the tomato actually tasted like tomato), and I particularly liked the hint of chilli in the chicken sandwich.
The third savoury item was the leek and gruyere tart. Oh my. Great pastry and a wonderfully soft creamy filling, with neither the leek nor gruyere dominant as flavours, but melting into the whole. A rather more-ish savoury tart that I would happily eat several times a week, though I'd probably skip the rocket. The tart is more than good enough on its own.
We made our way through as many of the sweet items as possible.
The “morning bun” (to the left of the bran muffins) is made from the croissant pastry, with the addition of maple syrup and cinnamon. A good bun for elevenses.
I have a liking for lemon tarts, and there’s a link to this blog’s name, of course. There are so many dreadful ones around that it is good to find one that is sweet but with a good lemon kick, and has good pastry. This one showed off some great pastry – sweet and crisp, with a generous dollop of lemon curd filling. I got a second one as a takeaway.
The large "fine apple tart" is the visual centrepiece of this space. A thin crispy crust with caramelisation, topped with finely sliced apples that still retained a slight tartness. It’s a beautiful looking tart, and a fine tasting one as well.
Back to more citrus, with the lemon Capri torte.
The first impression was that of lightness. This is a cake that is exquisitely light, with a decent lemon punch. I loved it, and it was only with the greatest of self control that I demurred when offered a greater portion of the slice. Upon thinking later about all that I’d eaten (and all of it was good), I think that the gruyere and leek tart and the Capri torte were probably my favourites.
Not content with one visit, I visited again on Friday, determined to try this :
This is quite a dense rich cake, and on top of a large sandwich, I was more than satiated.
On this second visit, there were some new baked goods, including some classic items, and a small range of bread loaves.
Old fashioned vanilla cake
Fine apple tart, chocolate tart, and pistachio and honey madeleines
I was tempted to have the beetroot and seed cake, as I've come across beetroot chocolate cakes, but not beetroot and seed ones. If it is available on my next visit, I shall try it.
Oh and yes, there is a small selection of macarons but really, there’s more to life than macarons, and my recommendation, when you visit flour and stone, is to try all the other items. Nadine bakes some mean old-school baked goods.