Since the initial announcement of Albion’s new food and lifestyle precinct, Craft’d Grounds, we’ve heard details of its 15-hectolitre brewpub and a flash coffee shop and roastery. Now another piece joins the puzzle in the form of Brass Tacks, a bakery, charcuterie and fromagerie by two top local pastry chefs.
Catherine Marot and Isaac Hull, of online dessert retailers Lady Bouchon and the Pie Hole, are opening the first shopfront for their respective brands. It’s also their first collaborative venture after 14 years of friendship, in which they’ve shared a trip to France (“eating our way through Paris and indulging in artisan pastries,” says Marot) and stints at Jocelyn's Provisions. “We’ll always be grateful for that time – learning the art of making everything from scratch and the value of the ingredients needed to make time-honoured recipes,” Marot says of their time at the celebrated bakery and patisserie.
Since then, they’ve each worked overseas in bakeries in London and throughout the United States before coming home to launch their own brands, which have built a reputation on beautiful, baked-to-order sweet treats.
“Having outgrown the kitchens and orders we can manage – and seeing a special space like Craft’d Grounds come to life that celebrates slow whole foods and artisans – it was the right time to expand what we do, and do it together, even better,” says Hull.
The Brass Tacks kiosk will sit next to Brew Tide and roastery Seven Miles in the heart of the precinct. Its timber-clad facade repurposes 40-year-old dance-floor floorboards that were once part of the site. The wide use of timber throughout the Craft’d Grounds precinct is also a nod to the 100-year-old timber mill that once stood on the site.
Armed with a larger kitchen, the pair will produce everything in-house, including their cakes, sweet and savoury pies, tarts, sandwiches, salads and charcuterie boards.
“Our name ‘Brass Tacks’ was drawn from an American saying, meaning ‘the essentials’ – the very ethos of what we do,” says Marot. “So whether you’re coming for Lady Bouchon’s sweet cakes like our popular lemonade and elderflower cake, or Pie Hole’s coveted banoffee pie or savoury pies, or our new speciality seasonal cheese or salads, there’ll be something for everyone, and every occasion.”
You can expect other crowd favourites including apple pie, lemon meringue pie, macadamia honey-caramel tart and toasted coconut cake, plus breakfast sandwiches, Reubens and more. The shop will also see the return of Hull’s savoury products (which he stopped baking at the beginning of the pandemic) including a red wine-braised brisket pie, potato leek Gruyere pie and a kimchi-braised chicken pie.
Brass Tacks will launch at Craft’d Grounds later this year.