Like most venues across Sydney right now, Bondi’s Royal is looking very different. The pool tables are silent, there are no beers being poured and gone are the sweaty punters watching live music.
For a couple of hours last Saturday morning, though, people returned (in a Covid-safe manner) to the front bar for Totti’s Royally Baked.
The Totti’s crew had made hundreds of delightful baked goods in the kitchen out the back and piled up The Royal’s bar top with Basque burnt cheesecakes, tarts, cakes, biscuits, fried-bread sandwiches stuffed with mortadella, empanadas, quince-jam shortbread and sticky-date bundt cake.
But there were also a couple of showstoppers, namely the cute-as-hell Breakfast Pie – a breakfast version of the beloved Totti’s puffy bread. “We use the same 48-hour fermented bread dough to make it,” Totti’s executive chef Mike Eggert tells Broadsheet. “We cook it in the woodfire oven, but at a much lower heat – a residual heat from Friday night plus a title flame for taste, hence why it’s called ‘Breakfast Pie’.”
It’s got a similar chewy, pillowy texture but isn’t as puffy as the puffy bread. It’s also smaller. There are three toppings to choose from: egg, prosciutto and chilli; tomato and three cheeses; and potato and truffle.
And making its triumphant return to Sydney was Pinbone’s maple, bacon and pumpkin tart.
For the uninitiated, the tart became a sensation circa 2014 at Woollahra’s now-closed Pinbone, which Eggert ran with co-head chef Jemma Whiteman and manager Berri Eggert. It’s been laying low for years, even though Eggert says people still ask him to make it. Why so good, you might ask?
“We roast our pumpkin the day before and drain off excess liquid to stop the pastry going soggy and, as we’re roasting the whole tart, we free the edges up with a palette knife to let the puff pastry rise and stop the bacon juices sticking,” he says.
It results in a perfectly salty, smoky, sweet and buttery tart you won’t want to end.
The bakery kicks off at 8am, and last week the stockpile of baked goods was cleaned out fairly quickly. Eggert says they’re going to up the quantities and add a couple of newbies, such as zucchini-flower-and-tomino-cheese focaccia; custard-filled fried bread; paninis with chicken schnitzel; and onion tarts.
As for how long it’ll stick around, “Permanently I hope,” he says. “As long as people show up we will keep it going, even after lockdown. I want to do it to keep connected with the community. You don’t make a lot of money off them, but you do make a lot of friends and continue to be a part of the community.”
Totti’s Royally Baked happens Saturday mornings 8am to 12pm at The Royal front bar, 283 Bondi Road, Bondi.
If you’d like to try making the maple, bacon and pumpkin tart, check out the recipe here.