“A perfect baguette has a bit of crunch, it’s soft inside and comes with a lot of butter,” says Julien Besnard.
Besnard’s Maurice Baguette is a pocket-sized French-style sandwich bar named after Besnard’s grandpa, Maurice, who ran a butchery in Brittany, France. “When I was young, we would go to the market on Sunday mornings and pick up our fresh products to prepare some baguettes for our lunch,” says Besnard. “He would take me out hunting, and then we would enjoy our picnic. For me, there are some very fond memories behind this cafe and this food.”
The menu includes La Pro (prosciutto, blue cheese, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes), Porky Porc (pulled pork, parmesan, coleslaw and aioli) and, Besnard’s favourite, the classic Le Parisien. “We take a fresh baguette and add salted butter, Swiss cheese, smoked ham and cornichons,” he says.
Alongside the baguettes there’s also coffee from boutique roasters The Little Marionette, pastries, 12-hour cold-brew coffee and a range of teas including organic honey-soaked chai.
Besnard’s name may be familiar, he is also co-owner of French cafe Jardin St James. The idea for the baguette bar struck Besnard several years ago during his first year spent in Australia as a backpacker. “I was walking around and realised that the food scene was missing something; my French palate was craving a baguette,” he says. “At Maurice Baguette, we are offering the classic French baguette experience – it is fresh, and easy to grab and go.”
Sydney-based design team Guru Projects is responsible for the bright interior, featuring gleaming white tiles with hints of blue and red. “I always ask myself, ‘Is this what Maurice would want?’ and if I think, ‘Yes’ then we go with it. It always comes back to him … and the idea of keeping things simple,” says Besnard.