“I’ve just had an idea. Have a look at this.” We’re handed a fist-sized doughnut. It’s pillowy, warm and sliced down the middle, so it looks like a doughy Pac-Man. Barry Jones, the man who just baked and fried it, reaches into the gelato fridge and scoops out a ball of dulce de leche. He rams it into the doughnut and looks at us as if he’s just conquered the world.
Jones and his wife Lucy are veteran bakers. Between them they’ve worked for the Savoy Hotel in London, the Sultan of Brunei, Harrods, Merivale and Bathers Pavilion. Mrs Jones the Baker is their first joint venture. Even considering their impressive pastry pedigree, it’s an ambitious project. Aside from doughnuts and handmade gelato, they’re baking a huge range of goods.
The shop is small (only a handful of bar stools) and every corner of it seems to be taken up by a beautiful display. In the front window there are castles of meringues, croissants and brownies lined up next to each other, discs of frangipane tarts and towers of biscuits with chocolate innards. Over the horizon of cakes and treats there’s an aromatic pie oven, loaves of seed-speckled breads, sourdoughs and a separate display cabinet with gingerbread men, jam doughnuts and intricate cakes. The latter includes a funny homage to Freshwater: a gooey chocolate and hazelnut praline cake with salted caramel in the shape of a thong. “We make everything ourselves,” says Lucy. “The gelato is handmade here. The jam doughnuts, all of it in-house and all of it daily.”
Many of the treats are simply finessed versions of what you’d find in other bakeries, but what you’ll struggle to find anywhere else in Sydney are the Jones’ English cakes. The sugary, puffed discs are Eccles cakes, crispy but flaky pastries filled with a mince-pie-like mixture of spiced currants. Next to them are the Norfolk shortbreads, a slightly savoury layering of extra-buttered shortcrust pastry topped with dried fruit. It tastes like the base of a meat pie but with more butter and sugar.
The homemade gelato that was so excitedly packed into our doughnut was helped along by Enmore’s Cow and Moon, which provided mentorship to the baking duo. Try a creamy dollop of the Jones’ coffee gelato with La Hacienda espresso and bits of ground coffee. The couple say they’ll change the output week by week, and in the near future they’ll expand their already ambitious range to include quiches, focaccia and a range of fruit breads.
Mrs Jones the Baker
16a Lawrence Street, Freshwater
(02) 9939 1736
Mon to Fri 7am–4pm
Sat & Sun 7am–6pm