REVIEW: The Paddock Bakery

There’s something timeless and elemental about bread.

To me, it’s a given. So, it seems strange to me that a food item which dates back to the Stone Age, the most widely consumed food item in the world whose very name itself denotes staple nourishment, should ever have been out of favour.

But it has been. Until now.

Enter The Paddock.

Carbs are back.

In our house, white bread disappeared long ago. We’ll only buy a handcrafted loaf: light rye sourdough, spelt blend, fruit loaf (read fig and date) or polenta… We’re a fussy lot who seek out the best bakeries on our travels: Jackman & McRoss, Harvest, Bourke Street Bakery, and of course Jocelyn’s Provisions. Sourcing quality bread on the coast has been a mission; a few bakers have come and gone, and we have come to depend on artisan bakers who sell at the weekly Farmers’ Markets. So we’re excited to hear the news.

There’s a whisper about a new bakery in Burleigh which has employed a Bourke St baker (Patrick), as well as the expertise of veteran baker Jesse Downes to get started. The Paddock has their own Alan Scott wood-fired oven, and, as we found out, they are making fabulous bread.

In a suburban rejuvenation, Ursula and Ben Watts, together with friends and fellow tradesmen, have transformed an 80-year-old weatherboard house into a shining new bakery. The restaurant is an airy, light space with seating both inside and around the house in the spacious yard.

“It’s a project of passion,” Ursula tells me.

The reuse of antique pieces as decor, such an original Queensland Rail table, the intricate timber laminate counter from the Milton Bowling Alley, like props on a stage, remind us that nothing about this bakery is new; in fact it’s very old indeed!

An old butcher’s block from Mackay, vegetable drying racks imported from France (used to stack bread behind the counter), bags of flour and antique scales subtly add to the authenticity of a country bakery. ‘Remember,’ they whisper, ‘that from the beginning of time we have reaped grain, ground it to make flour for bread, which was cooked over fire.  From the farmer to the artisan craftsman, this food on our table comes from the sweat of labour.’

Fittingly, the wood-fired oven forms the blazing heart of this house. It’s on display, with the rest of the working bakery behind floor to ceiling glass. Together with the garden dividing the restaurant and car park, it’s an obvious embodiment of farm-to-table dining.

The oven is also the key to The Paddock’s evolving menu. Dishes such as bacon and egg roll, breakfast in bread, oven-smoked asparagus with house-smoked salmon and gruyère cheese, flatbreads with oven-roasted cherry tomatoes and Bangalow feta, accompany bowls of salad and whole loaves for sale.

The Paddock ticks all the boxes – grounded, concept-driven, whole food, environmentally friendly, great coffee (single origin coffee roasters)… It doesn’t matter that the menu is still evolving, the service flow straightening out; judging by the line up out the door into the yard, any teething problems have been forgiven already! Locals have moved back to this ‘farm in the ‘burbs’, taken it into their hearts, eager for the authentic, rustic fare and artisan bread which is the specialty of The Paddock’s kitchen.

As they did for the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes, the crowds are lining up. “Give us this day our daily bread.”

The Paddock Bakery is located at 20 Hibiscus Haven, Burleigh Heads.

Read more of Marj’s reviews on Good Food Gold Coast

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