The key to the perfect doughnut is the dough. It must be fluffy and chewy on the inside, a bit crispy on the outside. You can put anything on top of good dough and people will like it, although Elise Honeybrook of Grumpy Donuts is isn’t a fan of putting just anything on a doughnut.
“If you chuck some M&Ms on top, what makes it unique? Where’s the effort?” she asks.
Before opening the Grumpy Donuts shop in Camperdown, Honeybrook and her partner, Scott Clark, spent 18 months frying their doughnuts between midnight and 6am and delivering orders all day.
The couple is focused on the Camperdown shop now. They sell to the public and do a wholesale trade. Plans are in the works to deliver by the half dozen around Sydney.
The space was once a hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop; Honeybrook and Clark did the redesign. It’s now bright white with subway tiles, panelling and stools along a counter by the window. A pink and green neon sign blinks the wavy letters “GD” on one wall. Like all of Grumpy Donuts’ branding, the sign was designed by Portland artist Joey Souza; known for his slightly grotesque illustrations.
The day’s doughnut offering is displayed on the front counter and on a tall silver rolling rack next to the drip coffee machine. Although Single O is served in all the regular ways, Honeybrook reckons drip coffee is the best match for doughnuts.
Although originally inspired by the doughnuts they ate in the US, Honeybrook and Clark put a Sydney spin on their creations. She says, “Americans don’t care what food looks like. If everything is brown, that’s okay because brown things are delicious. Australian food culture is all about presentation and colour.”
A great name and surprising ingredients go a long way, too. That’s why the Gin & Juice – with gin-and-orange-juice glaze – is so popular. Topped with brown-butter frosting and brioche crumb, the Buttered Toast is another favourite. But the apple fritter is something special. Chunks of tart Granny Smith apple sit next to crunchy caramel pieces on a bed of dough, fried crisp and golden.