Dench Bakers


109 Scotchmer Street, Fitzroy North, 3068—View map


03 94863554




Breakfast Monday to Sunday 7am to 3pm


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Give yourself a wide berth

Ellie Parker 2 May 2008

You need a small bottom for Dench Bakers.

Firstly, to squeeze your way through the throng of customers lining up for takeaway: bread, pastries, coffees and sandwiches. Secondly, to perch at one of their tiny plank tables that are reminiscent of those old fashioned school desk-and-chair ensembles. Thirdly, to ensure that you can devour the complete repertoire of croissants, pain au chocolat, escargot, Danishes and bombolone, followed by the Spanish eggs and ricotta hotcakes.

Establishments like Dench Bakers have started to put customers in a bind. It's a relatively new phenomenon to hit Melbourne's breakfast scene-the conundrum of the cooked breakfast versus the home-baked pastry breakfast. In other words, the American breakfast versus the Continental breakfast.

This hasn't ever really been an issue, as eggs have traditionally won outright over questionably-sourced pastries. But when you land at a bakery that excels in both camps, it can be a difficult decision.

Which is why I blame Dench for my perpetual indecision, and my bad habit of ordering a croissant as an entrée, and the Spanish eggs on ciabatta with chorizo, roasted peppers and potatoes as a main course.

Dench has it all sewn up. The Genovese coffee is great. The pastries are to die for. The bombolone (Italian custard-filled doughnuts) are perfectly chubby with thick custard. The croissants are so good they often sell out by 10.30 am. The seasonal pastries (raspberry, pear, quince, fig) have the exact balance of buttery pastry and hints of fruity tartness.

The breakfast menu is divided into larder and cooked sections. The larder is generally on the lighter, healthier side of things, and includes a delicious bircher muesli with berry compote, and a seasonal poached fruit with spiced yoghurt and toasted muesli. There are also the standard offerings of Granola with fruit, and toast with spreads.

The cooked menu includes breakfast staples with a twist such as chive scrambled eggs on brioche toast. Optional extras include organic ham, avocado, mushrooms and spinach.

The locals however generally dive for the specials board that may include Spanish eggs or ricotta hotcakes with roasted plums and mascarpone.

Dench feels family-run, even if it isn't. The staff are cheeky and chirpy, but still manage to care about the produce they are selling.

Dench has rapidly established itself as a Brunswick institution. First and foremost a bakery, it is now a one-stop-shop. From quality bread (sourdough, olive, farmhouse, spelt, schwarzbrot, baton, brioche) to take home meals, panini, cakes, cookies, slices and baby meringues. Whether you are waiting for your dog to be coiffed at the dog-grooming salon opposite, or on your way to Piedemonte's supermarket, Dench is a great destination for indecision.

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