Would you like coffee with that? On the side at Silo Bakery

by Barrister Barista

Pastries and coffee have been served together since the beginning of time, or at least since the beginning of Marie Antoinette’s time.  In South Canberra, they’re often served in the guise of breakfast at Silo Bakery – the Kingston pastry counter known for bread, tarts, and an unfortunate salmonella scare in 2011.  We reviewed Silo as foodies in 2011, but returned to pass judgement on their warm beverages – Coffee with the help of Fyshwick Roasterie [sic] Cosmorex.

Thanks to punctual friends, we snaffle an inside table at 7 something on a Wednesday.  It’s the kind of table where handbag, coat and your girth itself are an affront to wait staff and passersby.  We accept this awkwardness because at Silo, every second table is this kind of table.  Earlybird already has a crema-laden long black and we are thirsty to place The Order.  Unforts,  body language falls on deaf eyes today.  We try desperate glances, subtle foot tapping, moving our chair to face the centre of the room, but we’re stonewalled from all sides by order-taking and dedicated egg deliveries elsewhere.  Some call this busy, some call this customer service a la Silo – who are we to judge.

We are, at least ostensibly, just ordinary customers waiting for The Long – a pre-prandial flat white, to have here.  The Order is eventually called out towards the paystation, where The Waiter is plugging in orders, and condescends to tap ours in too.  As an aside, the act of paying at Silo Bakery is as difficult as returning swimwear in Myer’s.  Is the cash register that archaic?  Can the queues not be less chaotic?  We note this in time for the next Silo review of ‘systems’.  Order placed, we slump back into our chairs, relieved, and turn to the second difficult task: what to order for breakfast.

Silo is a bakery by name, and not a cafe.  We don’t think it’s controversial to claim that their food outshines their coffee – many a reviewer has, including us, on occasion. According to their interwebs, Silo was the ‘National Breakfast Restaurant’ at the 2006 Restaurant & Catering Awards.  Sniffing around for more recent results, we notice that Beess & Co in Yarralumla competes for this year’s national title.  This is a coffee review, so we won’t rave on about chilli jam for eggs or plump raisins in toast, only to ask ourselves whether you can have a good breakfast without a good coffee.  If Beess brings in the bacon, we may answer our original question in the affirmative.  In the meantime, we might drive to Bathurst to check out 2011 Breakfasteria The Hub Espresso Bar and Eatery, yum.

The pace of this review may reflect on the pace of our Silo-xperience – a little disjointed, awkwardly slow.  We like gazing down the long stone benchtop at the freshly prepared, more-glazed-than-ever tarts and tartlets.  We like spotting Rob Oakeshott cautiously accepting an inside table, looking around to check it wasn’t a political faux pas.  We like the pace and the staff moving at faster-than-Canberra speeds, but no one likes waiting, per se.  When The Long arrives, a leaf-topped latte FTW, it’s pretty, a practised pour, and we pucker up for our first kiss.  It’s a brassy first mouthful, bald and bold at the same time – a confidently flavourless coffee.  It’s coffee, but without brightness, light and shade, or any fruity or floral notes.  We could be asking too much, we’re not sure we want a second date.  Because duty calls, we eke out an order for The Short to go, and it’s oddly similar – very short in the big takeaway but well-endowed with crema – sharp and acidic but not berry-bright.

The Latte Word: If I have a spare $4, order a coffee with your croissant – but don’t expect to get your money’s worth every time.  We’re not sure if it’s Cosmorex (who claim the only female roaster in Canberra?) or its execution, but we’re calling it: while Silo Bakery is bread-takingly good, Silo coffee is not breath-takingly good. Two questions:

1) Are you a female coffee roaster in Canberra?  (Surely there are more out there, and so there should be)
2) Do you order coffee when you go to Silo Bakery?  Tell us your war stories, or otherwise.

Silo Bakery
36 Giles St Kingston ACT 2604
(02) 6260 6060
Tuesday to Saturday 7am to 4pm