There was once a bakery on Old South Head Road with a line out the door all the time. It was called Dinky Di, a name that has since been used in a lot of places (most notably Pie Face) but back then it sold some bloody good pies.
Those pies are back, but now they’re under a different name – François Artisan Bakery. François Galand (previously François Cointrel, he changed his name after meeting his biological father for the first time) was the original owner and chef at Dinky Di before moving into the corporate food world as executive chef and part-owner of Pie Face. “Last year I opened [Pie Face] in eight different countries … but when I came back my wife said, ‘I didn't see you for six months’. So I decided to do what I'm good with.” He sold out of Pie Face and is no longer involved.
Francois Artisan Bakery isn’t just about pie nostalgia, though. Galand, a master with 30 years of experience, has also resurrected the classic French cakes, tarts and pastries from his early days in bakeries when he handmade everything. When you walk in you’ll see rows of zest-sprinkled lemon tarts; soft, triple-chocolate-mousse cakes; and eclairs with various toppings, some more mysterious than others (there’s a green-tea variety). Then you’ll smell the sourdough baking and spy the croissants and meringues. “It's a mix of traditional and new techniques,” says Galand.
Merveilleux cakes are covered in whipped cream and filled with layers of meringue. “It's something new they are doing in France,” says Galand. He says in the future he’d like to expand the menu to include more innovative, non-traditional cakes, particularly Japanese-inspired varieties. “I have plenty of ideas for new things. It’s very exciting but I need to find the time,” he says.
The other thing he hopes to introduce is something there’s not enough of in Sydney: fresh baguettes. “I would like to bake them every two hours. That’s how they do it in France, you can buy a warm baguette at any time of the day.”
François Artisan Bakery
91 Bondi Road, Bondi
(02) 8403 4014
Tue to Fri 7am–6pm
Sat & Sun 8am–5pm