Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cruffins @ Brewtown Newtown, Sydney

Cronuts, aka, croissant + donuts for those of you living under a rock, have taken the US by storm (for good reason).  When I was in Sydney, I kept hearing about their famous cronuts, from a place called Brewtown Newtown (although called "Brewnuts", because, trademarks).

Brewtown Newtown is actually mostly a coffee shop/cafe, not a bakery, so I was a bit skeptical, but so many food blogs raved about this place.  It is in Newtown however, further afield that our normal Sydney adventures take us, so I didn't think I'd really get in a visit.  That is, until we went for dim sum at Luly and Yum Yum, and I was left a bit unsatisfied by the lackluster dessert.  I always need dessert!  The group wanted to get coffee afterwards, and I knew Brewtown Newtown was just down the street.  They could get the coffee they wanted, and I could try a cronut.  Everyone would win.

So I lead us down the street to Brewtown Newtown, where we discovered just how popular it was.  At the front was a place you could order just drinks and baked goods to go (or, go drool over them in the display cases), and the rest of the space was for sit down dining with table service, absolutely packed.

The cafe actually sounds quite nice, serving breakfast and lunch, with seasonal menus focused around farm fresh, "paddock to plate" cuisine, free range, organic, yadda yadda.  Once we sat, I was able to see dishes delivered to tables around us, and it all looked good.  The most impressive is the Elvis Burger: "savory brewnut, canadian bacon, gruyere and mayo served with chips and relish".  Yes, that is a bacon and cheese topped burger, served with cronuts as buns.  OMG.  Many tables ordered this.  I actually laughed a bit, as there were many pairs of male + female together, and the males all ordered the crazy burger, and the females salads.  So ... stereotypical?  I didn't even see a female ask for a bite of one of these.  I totally would have!

Anyway, as for the coffee, they serve Single Origin roasters, one of my favorite beans in Sydney.  I tried a decaf long black ($3.50).  The coffee wasn't very good, harsh and acidic.  It had an oil slick floating on top, never a good sign.  It also had no crema whatsoever.  This is not representative of Single Origin's product, so I'm not sure what went wrong.  I asked to have it topped off with a bit more hot water to dilute it, and was brought a cute little pitcher of hot water so I could dilute it myself.  That was a nice touch.

Ojan opted for a hot chocolate ($4), which was unremarkable.
The place was packed, and we had to wait for a table even though it was about 3pm.  The vibe was lively and hopping.  Music selection was a bit hilarious, obviously very hip, moving from 80s pop hits to classical numbers, and everything in between.

The space has brick walls and exposed beams, very industrial feeling.
Counters at the front display the baked goods in all their glory, starting with the Brewnuts of course.

The flavors of the day were: cinnamon, glazed, chocolate crumble, blood orange, lemon myrtle, fruit & nut, passion fruit curd, and salted caramel with macadamia.

Unlike some other cronuts, these do not have any filling, rather, they are just the croissant donut, with a hole in the center, and nothing between the layers.  The flavors are all in the toppings.  They did look quite stunning.
But this is Sydney, and a hip place, so they have continued innovating.  In addition to cronuts they have ... cruffins!  You can probably guess what this is, a hybrid croissant-muffin.  But unlike the brewnuts, these ARE filled.  In my world, filling makes better, so even though I set out to get a cronut, I quickly changed my game plan and started drooling over the cruffins instead.

The cruffins available were lychee & rosewater, lemon meringue, dulce de leche, cinnamon, almond frangipane, and salted caramel with caramel corn.
Salted Caramel with Popcorn Cruffin.
We obviously had to go for a cruffin, even though the brewnuts are the item everyone raves about from Brewtown.  I couldn't resist having not only a croissant with awesome toppings, but filled too!

The lemon meringue looked awesome with the meringue on top, but neither Ojan nor I really like lemon desserts, so, we didn't go for that.  And I don't like rosewater.  Ojan ruled out almond. The cinnamon was too boring.  This left the sweet options of dulce de leche and salted caramel.  The salted caramel came topped with caramel corn, which just seemed a bit too awesome to resist, so, it became the winner.

The caramel corn was indeed quite tasty.  Did it belong perched on top of my cruffin?  Not really, but it was sweet, crunchy, and went perfectly with my coffee.  I'd gladly purchase just their caramel corn.
I carefully cut it open to reveal the cream filling.  This was no easy task, as the cream came spilling out, and, croissants aren't exactly easy to cut with a butter knife.

The croissant dough was great.  It was crispy on the outside, buttery and flaky and perfectly laminated dough.  However ... I didn't like the cream.  I'm not sure what it was about it, but the flavor just didn't do it for me.  It was creamy and sweet, so I really should have.  Ojan loved it though, and said this treat made his day.  Of course, he added that he'd like to have some chocolate on top too.

So, this was a quasi-success.  The pastry was good, and that is the hard part to nail, so I have every reason to believe that I would have enjoyed another flavor.  Or, perhaps the Brewnut really is the item to get, as these aren't about the filling, more about the quality pastry.  I'm glad I tried it, and would return to try another item sometime.
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