I met Ashraf Saleh when he was at SBS Cafe. He’s now the chef at St. Honore Bakery in Mosman. St. Honore is a partnership between two Egyptian Australians and has been a bit of a North Sydney institution for the past 14 years. They’ve expanded to Mosman two and a half years ago.
Their pies, cakes and sourdough bread attract customers from all over town. Hany Bottrose, one of the owners, decided a few weeks ago to open the Mosman shop for dinner from Thursday – Saturday. “What? Dinner at a bakery?” I hear you ask. Yep, tonight, Ashraf and Hany invited noodlies, Sydney food blog for a little tasting.
There’s five predominantly seafood entrees to chose from. The grilled king prawns with piquillo pepper puree and soft herb salad was served on a long white platter that showed off the golden prawn. The first thing I noticed was the wonderful aroma. The prawns were sprinkled with piquillo pepper that gave it a light spicy taste and a fascinating, slightly crunchy outer. The extra smooth avocado puree and saffron aioli added extra flavour and colour.
The zucchini flower stuffed with four cheeses;mozzarella, gruyere, parmesan, ricotta to be exact, was an amazing exercise of contrasts. The almost brittle zucchini flower against soft, smooth cheese stuffing; delicate flower versus strong cheese taste, especially from gruyere and parmesan.
Other entrees on offer included tempura soft shelled crab, Hawkesbury salt and pepper squid and Tasmanian black mussels.
The six mains on offer were more meat based. Roast muscovy duck maryland cinnamon glaze was an exercise in restraint, the tender duck retained a light, gamey taste which was moderated by subtle soy and cinnamon flavours.
The red wine braised King Island beef cheek with caramelised shallot, roasted garlic and truffle infused potato puree was probably the most stunning in presentation; colourful, exquisitely shaped vegetables led the eye to the eventual prize of oh-so-tender beef cheeks.
Again, this was tasty stuff that didn’t try to smash your taste buds with heavy flavours. Here, everything worked together to contrast but compliment. For me it’s reminiscent of Cantonese cuisine, where all the ingredients are there not to clash, rather to bring out the full taste of the principle meat ingredient.
You won’t find such handsomely presented desserts at the local bakery. This St. Honore dessert is a combination of two of their specialties, opera gateau and macarons. The orange, chocolate macaron had that slightly crunchy texture outside and was deliciously gluey inside. But it was the devilish opera gateau with different layers including chocolate, butter cream and coffee liqueur which stole the show. It’s served slightly chilled and according to Bottrose, the taste slowly change while you’re eating as it starts to match room temperature.
Don’t let the ‘bakery’ name fool you, Ashraf Saleh serves up a fascinating, complex menu that is very accessible. While the presentation is stunning, the food is no less impressive.
St. Honore Bakery, Mosman is open 7 days, dinner Thursday – Saturday only.
St. Honore Bakery, Mosman
Shop 3, 555 Military Road, Mosman
(02) 9969 6303
The North Sydney branch is a more traditional bakery and is located at:
St. Honore Bakery (North Sydney)
Shop 2, 40 Miller St, North Sydney
(02) 9929 4388
Noodlies, Sydney food blog was dined as a guest of St. Honore, Mosman.
The beef cheeks look pretty good especially in this weather. The menu prices are very reasonable although they should make an effort to correct all the spelling errors.
Ashraf Saleh is the best chef of quality food.