The new space is beautiful: lines of copper wrap around the counter, like industrial layers of frosting, while suspended planters flirt with gravity and the neat stacks of timber remind you of what fuels and warms the wood-fired bread. (Incidentally, the location is also footsteps away from Kitchen By Mike and Da Mario – other eateries that make the suburb worth a detour.) And while the Smith & Carmody interiors in Rosebery are larger than the Newtown outlet – so, too, is the menu.
Yes, you can still get all the brilliant classics – the signature Strawberry Watermelon Cake, the Lamb Shank and Red Wine Pie ($8), the Orange Cake with Persian Fig – but you can also find Minted Pea Tarts ($8), Sumac Salad with Fried Serrano ($5) or Slices of Beetroot Bread with Dips and Pickles ($12). Unless, of course, these items are out of commission because they’ve quickly sold out, which we discovered when we turned up to lunch on Friday. Sure, it was only the second day that Black Star had been operating in Rosebery, but it was already insanely popular. Already! It was just after New Year’s, most people were still on holidays, and there’d been minimal fanfare about the opening, but there was an endless queue snaking out the door. Of course! How could I underestimate the instant fervour for the new Rosebery store, given that Black Star in Newtown is one of the best eateries in Sydney, with more-than-justified crowds to match?
We were still lucky to “scrape” together an order that day in Rosebery, choosing the leftover beetroot bread (minus sold-out dips and pickles), a roasted veg salad and some surprisingly still available lamb shank pie. Our friends missed out altogether. And this was around 1pm.
So, we were determined to come back at a more earlybird time, when we wouldn’t be greeted by a menu buried under “sold out” signs. We thought we could ask staff members for a recommended hour to turn up, but this was a little like asking for diplomatic secrets. They told us that they’d only just opened and had not expected this intense patronage so far.
We came back on Sunday morning and enjoyed the excellent, ingredient-stuffed Feta Almond Zucchini Stick ($6), Ham and Cheese Croissant with Smoked Paprika Relish ($6.50), good coffee by The Little Marionette and a summer-friendly Iced Tea of the Day ($4.50). The food, at any Black Star, is always brilliant and worth the pilgrimage. But the Rosebery spin-off has a few small things to smooth out. For instance, Will asked one staff member about the specials – only to be told there’d be no specials today. This would be contradicted by someone writing up specials on the board not long after the question was posed. Or you’d ask about the pita pockets and learn that staff had no idea when they might be ready. 10 minutes later, you would see pita pockets arriving in the cabinet. Maybe there’s just a communications blackout between the kitchen and counter. Maybe it’s one of those things that happen in opening week and a little patience is worth calling on.
I think Black Star Pastry is awesome and we’re lucky to have one outlet in this city, let alone two. But maybe recalibrate your expectations if you turn up in the first week or so – every place deserves a grace period. (Also, the sweet spot for getting there seems to be around 11am – early enough that you’re not greeted with abundant “sold out” signs, but not so early that the specials and extra items haven’t yet made an appearance. Closing hour at Rosebery, incidentally, is much earlier than the Newtown store: 3pm daily.) And patience and time-strategising does pay off; Will’s Pita Pocket ($10), well-stuffed with roast chicken and a kale/quinoa salad, was worth waiting that little bit longer for the menu to slide from breakfast to lunch territory.
Black Star Pastry in Rosebery also has an expanded drinks list (with brews from Tea House, cold-pressed juice from Joostice) and is otherwise stacked with re-reminders of why you love BSP in the first place – killer sweets, savoury treats and well-made items always worth queuing for.