Tantalising for the tastebuds

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SIXTY-three-degree eggs, gizzards and pangrattato. Tantalise your tastebuds? Then the newly opened A.Baker in the New Acton precinct is for you.

If the mention of gizzards makes you gag, I encourage you to not be afraid. A.Baker’s food is executed with skill and you’ll be rewarded for being adventurous.

What about 63-degree eggs you ask? This is a poached egg slow cooked. Many chefs say it’s the “perfect egg” because 63 degrees is when the egg white and yolk are the same temperature.

A.Baker (Dining Review) 048And pangrattato? Well, they’re essentially breadcrumbs (let’s say ‘special Italian’ breadcrumbs).

But enough of the quizzing. Let’s concentrate on the scoop behind A.Baker.

First, location. A.Baker is where Flint was before it sadly burnt to the ground, so it has an excellent position in an area that is pretty hip. The place is divided into three sections – artisan commercial bakery, eatery and bar.

We started in the bar area, a kind of hidey hole tucked downstairs with exceptional old marine lights discovered in Jodhpur, India. The bar was pretty well overflowing but we soon found a seat. We shared plump south coast oysters (they don’t get much better than that) baked with bacon jam and pangrattato ($3.50 each).

They were delicious and we washed them down with lovely wine (we had to remind the staff twice that we had ordered wine). Also downstairs is the bakery and you can watch the action through a one-way pane of glass (actually we could only see someone’s back… perhaps another day).

We were told it might be a bit of a wait for a table to become available but it wasn’t long at all before – poof! –we were back on the main floor. The old structure is exposed, creating a rustic feeling with raw charred brick, smoke stains and other imperfections.

The menu isn’t huge, but quality of ingredients is the order of the day. Meals come in two sizes, small ($16) and large ($28), and all-day options are available morning ‘til night.

A.Baker offers charcuterie and oysters. Capocollo, cacciatore and porchetta (each $12) are served on a wooden board with fantastic bread, milled in the wee hours of the morning and baked fresh daily. We shared the entrée-size farmed venison from Mandagery Creek, Orange, transformed into a spellbinding ragu, including barley risotto and saffron flowers.

My second visit was for breakfast and my eggs – poached in a spicy tomato sauce, served in a small cast-iron frying pan on a wooden board (wooden boards are popular at A.Baker) – were delightful. The coffee was good and I adored A.Baker’s wonderful black Japanese tea pots.

Open seven days for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No reservations accepted. Unit 2, 15 Edinburgh Avenue, call 6287 6150.

Top image: House sourdough and marinated Crookwell olives. Photos by Brent McDonald

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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