Red Door Bakery, Croydon, Adelaide, South Australia
Red Door Bakery – Make Loaves Not War
Recommended as “beautiful and rustic, with amazing food,” by an Adelaide foodie friend, Red Door Bakery quickly made it to our list for further investigation for an upcoming trip to the region. When we found a quote by George Bernard Shaw, “There is no sincerer love than the love of food,” splashed in a big red banner across the front page of their website, we knew immediately we’d be friends.
Owners, Gareth and Emma Grierson, driven by their love of good bread, pastry and coffee, opened Red Door Bakery with much success in Croydon and soon developed a loyal following. Known for awesome meat pies and unbelievably buttery pastries, these two items were quickly put on our “must try” list.
The corner café is buzzing when we arrive. Baked bread and freshly brewed coffee wafts pleasantly through the air. A rustic yet clean and stylish setting is packed with cheery lunchers. We scrutinize plates to see what’s good, and find stainless steel dishes filled with flaky savouries, decadent sweets, and most tables with numerous cups of coffee.
Red Door Bakery, Croydon
Believing in high quality ingredients prepared simply, the team sources the best regional produce – South Australian Angus beef for their pies, Laucke flour for breads, seasonal local fruits in their pastries – and they make EVERYTHING by hand. No short cuts. Time honoured traditions of artisan baking and a lot of hard work go into the preparation of every item at Red Door Bakery, and customers notice – they can taste the difference.
Coffee is locally roasted in small batches by the dedicated, and well-reputed, Tony D’Angelo. Dairy too is vitally important if you like your brew with milk, and the happy cows from Tweedvale Dairy in Adelaide Hills give their milk in the morning, and by the afternoon it’s in the fridge at Red Door Bakery! How cool is that?!
Latte – Made with Tony D’Angelo Beans
We try the Usual Suspects: a flat white; cappuccino; macchiato; and an affogato – except the affogato is not so ‘usual’. It’s accompanied with deliciously creamy house made coffee ice cream and goes down like a dream. Thumbs up for the coffee: great beans plus good barista equals satisfying coffee experience.
While most products are local, quality is the number one factor in deciding whether or not an ingredient gets a place on the shelf at Red Door Bakery. Confessed butter worshippers, Gareth and Emma, searched worldwide to find the best churned cream, “in all her creamy-rich depth and lascivious glory,” and have chosen Belgian butter for Danish pastries and croissants.
So enough about ingredients, how do all of these things come together? Tasting time!
Red Door Bakery benefits from the expertise of both a baker and a chef. This means not only are the outsides of pies flaky and perfectly executed, but the fillings are complete dishes in themselves too. You’ll find no ‘gravy’ pies here. Each is fully packed with hearty chunks of meat, of which by the way, Emma and Gareth are savvy of exactly where it all comes from. Buying directly from local farmers, the team knows their suppliers personally, and understands their products very well.
Standard chicken and beef pies, and sausage rolls are always on the menu but specialty pies change with the seasons and inspiration of the chef.
Woakwine Organics farm provides the Hereford beef for the first sample we try, the Beef and Pepper Pie. Salty air and 100% grass feed, give the beef the best environment to grow up in, all meaty and delicious. Seasoned with a lovely mouthful of pepper – reminiscent of the sauce on black pepper crab – this pie is a hit with all four of us dining today.
Beef and Pepper Pie
Beef and Pepper Pie
Free Range Chicken, Lentil and Bacon Pie combines shreds of tender poultry with gently firm pulses and the addictive flavour of bacon into a gorgeous filling. A short crust pastry base provides just enough support to keep the moisture inside, while the flaky top might be unhurriedly picked off by eaters who take pleasure in prolonging the scrummy experience.
Free Range Chicken, Lentil and Bacon Pie
The vegetarian option tickles my fancy, and owner Emma promises that they refuse to sell anything they wouldn’t eat themselves. She guarantees vegetarian is not just an afterthought, but a choice that is just as delectable as any other selection on the menu. Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry Pie turns out to be another prime example of what makes Red Door Bakery special – excellent pastry bursting at the seams with quality wadding.
Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry Pie
Sausage rolls are Red Door Bakery’s biggest sellers and a far cry from my childhood memories of unidentifiable meat in a stodgy pastry envelope. Just like the pies, the inners are awesome and the outers stupendous.
Berkshire Free Range Pork and Sage Sausage Roll is juicy, naughty and scrumptious. The Hay Valley Lamb and Moroccan Eggplant is just as wicked, and it’s with these two that we discover Red Door Bakery’s house made Chili Jam. Eaten with the lamb, it’s a marriage made in foodie heaven. Accompanying the pork, the womp of chili in the condiment slices through the fat and balances out the sin. Lucky for us the Chili Jam (and Tomato Chutney) are for sale and we eagerly take some home with us.
Hay Valley Lamb and Moroccan Eggplant
Berkshire Free Range Pork and Sage Sausage Roll
Gareth’s famous Vanilla Crème Brûlée reminds me a little of Bourke Street Bakery’s perfect model in Sydney. We learn Gareth indeed learned with the masters and has brought this skill, with the addition of his own hand, with him to Adelaide. Crack, crack, crack: the top is hand torched and doubly layered providing a good thick blanket of toffee. It splinters into glass-like shards and finally gives way to a superbly creamy nucleus. Mmm. This is a fine sweet beginning.
Vanilla Crème Brûlée
Vanilla Crème Brûlée
Passionfruit Curd Tart is topped with a soft Italian meringue. Emma smiles cheekily at us and suggests the “Hoover manouvre” to suck the white cloudy peak from the base. The shell is crisp, and even with the moist centre, does not sway from its sturdy job of holding everything together in firm position. All combined, it’s tart, gently sweet and dreamy.
Passionfruit Curd Tart
The Honeycomb and Chocolate Tart is something I could spend hours drooling over in a dessert display: it looks so glorious, but I know I shouldn’t, but it’s calling my name, but I’ll have to run miles tomorrow, but, but, but. Fortunately here, I have no choice, I must indulge so my readers know if it’s worth the calories or not… Broken triangles of homemade honeycomb perch atop a smooth Belgium milk chocolate ganache. The longer it sits, the more the edges of the honeycomb slowly melt into the base, fusing honey and chocolate into a saliva inducing moosh of self-indulgent pleasure.
Honeycomb and Chocolate Tart
Potted Panna Cotta is a gluten free option. Based with a raspberry compote, then piled high with a velvety vanilla panna cotta, and sealed with a raspberry jelly, this is both hubby’s and my mum’s favourite. It has the right blend of creamy and tangy and elicits high praise from two tough customers.
Potted Panna Cotta
A strip of vanilla salt marks the top of a straightforward looking rectangle of what seems to be a chocolate brownie. It’s called the Brick: a Belgium Chocolate Salted Caramel Brick. We soon learn it’s not as innocent as it first appears. Upon cutting a gooey caramel oozes from under the blanket of soft chocolate and drips down the sides of the dense brownie middle. The sides are mildly chewy, the liquid intense and saccharine and the ridge smooth and cocoa-y. It’s the last thing we eat and we really should be slowing down by now, but it’s addictive. We all gush and coo as we take the first bite, and then become speechless until, soon, they’re all gone.
Belgium Chocolate Salted Caramel Brick
We love that we can take home items from Red Door Bakery with us. The wonderful memories of travel can be prolonged when a taste from a favourite experience resurfaces weeks after travel. In this case, we’ve already purchased some Chilli Jam and Tomato Chutney to bring home, but can’t resist a giant Gingerman too! (Well two actually – one for the niece and one for the nephew.)
Chilli Jam and Tomato Chutney – Look Closely at the Label
Dear readers, you know by now that we favour places making an effort to have a positive impact on their community, considering both human and environmental resources in their practices. Well Red Door Bakery gains our bias not only with their operation of using local ingredients and artisanal techniques, but also through their relationship with Oz Harvest. At the end of each day, excess food is donated to feed the needy, which also reduces landfill. So besides offering delicious food and a fantastic ambience from which to enjoy it, you can also feed the tummies and hearts of others through supporting this local bakery.
Reasons to visit: gourmet pies and sausage rolls – all of them, great coffee by Tony D’Angelo, Panna Cotta, Passionfruit Curd Tart, the Brick.