Cover photo taken from http://sydney.concreteplayground.com.au/restaurants/22901/black-star-pastry.htm
Pretty sure most of my readership have been to this place before. If you haven’t, you have my permission to stop reading and go there now.
To those more patient, BSP is one of those places that’s got a following, that’s for sure. It’s one of those places that if you’ve been to, you’ll either conclude it’s awesome or overhyped. If you haven’t been, it’s one of those places you’ve heard plenty about, always want to go someday, and have yet to find the time. Up till September, I definitely fell into that second camp. I’m now in the first camp. Question is – is it awesome, or overhyped? *raises eyebrow*
Name: Black Star Pastry
Date Visited: 22/09/2012
Address: 277 Australia St, Newtown 2042
Good for: the sweet tooth!
Not good for: the opposite of the above i.e. if you don’t enjoy life
Go-to dish: strawberry watermelon cake w/rose cream
Following on from the adventure at Cafe Giulia (yep same day), a dessert was in order. Me and le cafe-fangirl Joey decided to visit BSP because “oh why the hell not”. I don’t have any pictures of the place (back in the days when I didn’t consider this element of my food blogging as usual) but I can tell you that it’s very small. If you put 8 people in there it’s going to be so crowded you won’t even be able to see the counters. It’s pretty odd actually, for a place that’s considered a ‘cafe’. There aren’t really many places to sit – perhaps 3 can be comfortable seated on the inside (4-5 if you squeeze/are a small person) and two small table’s worth on the outside. That’s about it. Usually I rant about how they should expand considering their popularity blah blah, but I guess because they’re small they’ve gained points in ‘perceived’ popularity? Heh, oh well there will always be people buying stuff from BSP that’s for sure.
The people behind the counter are…not the kinds of people I expected to be running a pastry shop/cafe. The’re big, burly men with plenty of facial hair. If you can’t imagine this – imagine a bikie, except without the black leather and you’re 95% of the way there. I could not help but stare for a bit. Thankfully, they didn’t notice. So this charming little place is run by some people who could be seriously intimidating if need be…oh well. It’s the food I come for (and it’s the food I stay for?)
First up – the cheesecake. This is a lovely cheesecake. The cream is smooth and velvety and not too thick (but this is highly subjective), while the strawberry coulis is thickened and provides a bouncy counter-texture to the creme conclave it sits in. Sweetness (creamy sweet + sour fruity sweet) abounds from both.
The base is soft yet holds firm – it gives under pressure from the spoon, but otherwise will not yield. It doesn’t crumble apart, but does so in your mouth. Divine.
It’s still a bit heavy – that’s a hallmark of cheesecake. So if you never liked the heavy stuff in the first place this will still not be the cake for you. It’s a winner for me.
The idea of making a brûlée tart is genius – I’m sure it’s been done before but to my amazement I don’t recall having tried one before. Well, good thing that got remedied later rather than never.
I don’t think you can actually find this on their menu (actually, the same goes for their cheesecake) so you’ll probably have to see if it’s ‘in season’ (i.e. they felt like making it). The tart itself is well construted with a firm base and surroundings which holds together as you bite into it. The top is a little too burnt (and thus, bitter) for my liking but once again, so subjective.
As usual, my anti-raspberry bias kicks in and I do wish this particular type of sour is dialled down a bit less. It is possible you know – it involves poaching the fruits. Anyways, I still liked it because the pastry tasted quite nice – rich and fluffy but again rigid like the cheesecake. Oh and I still think the idea of a brûlée tart is awesome. Bourke St Bakery still has the best tarts (probably – I honestly may not be able to tell with a blind test but the placebo effect does wonders) but BSP gives a good show by itself.
Ahhh, the shape of this lemon meringue – a pyramid as it were seems so trivial yet adds a pretty cool-looking dimension to the end product. The texture on the outside gives the illusion that there are many layers of the pyramid but when you bite inside…
Is the smoothest meringue to have ever graced my tastebuds. Meringue is meant to be smooth so this comes as no surprise, but it’s wonderful to taste something that smooth since something with similar texture rarely comes along.
The meringue itself is very fluffy, and has an almost pavlova-like taste and airy feel about it. You don’t really feel like you’re eating something that bad for you (though of course, being packed full of sugar – it is). I have no complaints about this meringue. None at all.
The outside is very likely a thin pavlova crust and it works with the meringue well. After all, it’s pavlova’s other half!
Funky pyramid hehe.
Easily recognised as BSP’s signature dish, enter the watermelon cake. Layered this is – almond dacquoise, cream whipped like there’s no tomorrow, the layers of fresh watermelon, and what you can see on top – the strawberries, the pistachios and the rose petals. You know that rose petals are edible right? You know now.
In a word it’s amazing. It’s odd to imagine the crispy watery watermelon going well with a cake but it just works. The dacquiose (almond/hazlenut meringue layers) is just as good as the meringue in the pyramid and when you top it off with the fruity goodness on top…well let’s just say it’s as refreshing as a cake gets. Refreshingly tasty, that is. So many cakes deliver flavour at the expense of density and that bloated feeling if you eat too much, but I can see this cake lasting much better than any of those.
The cake for my 22nd birthday. Uh huh.
Go get some BSP, your tongue will love you and your hips will hate you for it. The way it’s meant to be.
The Good: pretty much all the sweets
The Bad: don’t expect to find seating to come easily
I give Black Star Pastry a grand total of nine Caesars out of ten – 9/10