I’ve never really spent much time at Chifley Plaza. See, on my last visit, I had to pick up an $800 ballpoint pen from Tiffany to use in a magazine shoot. This was many moons ago, when I was an editorial assistant and my minimum-wage-earning self was unable to compute how a simple pen could be worth mammothly more than my weekly take-home pay. That I was so easily scandalised by a designer price tag is what has kept me well away from this upscale mall for such a long time.
Until I discovered you could get $1.50 macarons at Bacco Wine Bar Pasticcera on the ground floor.
It’s rare that you would bound across town to pick up food from a shopping centre, but this ground-floor eatery – with glass cases holding beautiful, penned-in pastries – is that unlikely exception.
Not only are there macarons (the peanut butter one is my fave, so far), but Bacco has unbelievably exquisite-looking cakes and confections – the kind that I haven’t seen since first frequenting Adriano Zumbo. (In fact, if the lines at that ever-popular Balmain patisserie discourage you, file this place as a sweet-tooth alternative. Although, I must admit: Bacco’s passionfruit macarons can’t really edge out the Zumbo ones, which are matchless).
The pastry chef here is Brendan Dewar, who has trained with French food icon, Pierre Herme – famously known as the “Picasso of pastry”. You might get a little stiff-necked working out which hyper-vivid treat in the displays to settle on; in the end, I bought a Lime Panna Cotta ($5) and Coconut Banana Dome ($5). And a takeaway Oven Baked Muesli with Roasted Almonds, Poached Fruit and Bush Honey ($6), just to trick myself into thinking my sugar-loaded order wasn’t entirely nutritionally sketchy.
I loved all of it, especially the berry jelly of the dome, its shortbread base, and the wind-swept glamour of the petal on top (and even that flowery flourish was sweet to taste).
My one complaint is that Bacco is only open weekdays – so if you’re not lucky enough to work or study nearby, it’s a little hard to visit (otherwise, set your alarm clock for dawn and make sure you’re there by 7am to fight the coffee-dependent crowds).
Incidentally, the patisserie transforms into a wine bar in the afternoon/evening and so far, the Eatability reviews are incredibly mixed.
Right now though, it’s the sugar-coated creations that will lure me back to the plaza’s ground floor. The macaron, as it turns out, is mightier than the visit-repelling Tiffany pen.
Bacco, Ground Floor, Chifley Plaza, Sydney NSW (02) 9223 9552, bacco.com.au