When Broadsheet visits Brid on its opening day, the tiny cafe is fast filling up with customers. Sitting next to us is the crew from The Summertown Aristologist. Later, chef Hannah Jeffery (ex-Peel Street) stops in, and several Basket Range winemakers arrive with their families. Just two hours in and locals – and local hospitality folk – have embraced Piccadilly’s new arrival wholeheartedly.
“I’m so overwhelmed by the community response over the weekend,” Reid tells Broadsheet three days later. The neighbours here have been so nice and the little natural wine community I’ve been a part of really came out in force, it was so good.”
Reid previously worked as a barista at Sibling and as a winemaker at Commune of Buttons. He’s also a noted baker – he began selling his loaves at Sibling during the national shutdown last year – providing the inspiration behind the shop’s tongue-in-cheek name, Brid (“bread” pronounced in Reid’s native Kiwi accent).
Naturally, the menu revolves around bread – loaves of Reid’s organic sourdough plus sandwiches and toasties – alongside house-baked cookies, apple pie and other sweets.
“The focus is on sourdough made with organic flours, and I’m trying to sneak in as much wholemeal flour as I can while keeping the loaves light and approachable,” says Reid. “At the moment, all the wholemeal flours are milled in-house and all the grain for the wholemeal flours is from Burram biodynamics in Victoria, but I want to have conversations with Small World about using some of their flour, because it’s just so good.”
He’s going to have weekly specials: a Jerusalem artichoke sourdough, say, or a loaf using spent grain from a shoyu (Japanese-style soy sauce made with soy and wheat) by chef Andrew Douglas (Bhreu). (And he’s working on gluten-free options).
It’s a super-tight menu for now, but Reid says it’ll expand gradually. “I’m working on a few more sweets this week and I’m gonna do some toasties this weekend using the glut of porcinis that are currently hanging around the Hills … just on a flattop – nice and quick and easy and delicious.
“The baking here takes up all of our kitchen space so there’s not much room to do anything that doesn’t involve bread. But down the line I’d like to look at doing some more meals that aren’t necessarily sandwiches or toast.”
The petite coffee shop (in the former Piccadilly Kitchen space) sits next door to Ensemble’s new site (part-owned by Reid’s partner Beccy Bromilow), repeating the successful formula of Ensemble’s original city digs, which sat next-door to Sibling.
The cafe reflects Ensemble’s clean, minimal aesthetic with big windows, lots of natural light, white walls and natural-wood finishes. “I want them to feel connected, not necessarily as one business, but working together aesthetically,” Reid told Broadsheet last year.
The result is the work of many hands: designer Alice Were worked with Reid on the venue’s layout, Jam Factory alum Nick Fuller made the cork tables, Taku Kamikawa did the joinery and Braden Murphy worked on carpentry. Bromilow, who makes leather goods under BB Shoemaker, reupholstered the stools, which are from the Salvos. Bromilow’s dad – arborist and sculptor Geoff Bromilow – got involved too, sourcing the cyprus seen throughout the venue from the Marbury School grounds in Aldgate.
The hyper-local community vibes are present in every aspect of the cafe. Ingredients (all organic and/or biodynamic) are from Hills suppliers such as Maggie’s Farm, Ngeringa and Paris Creek. And espresso coffee is by Reid’s ex-employer Mondays Coffee. Reid will soon introduce rotating filter options by roasters from around the country.
176 Piccadilly Road, Piccadilly
Sat & Sun 9am–2pm