Quentin Berthonneau wants you to eat better bread. In fact, he’s a little obsessed about it...
It’s the reason he set up Melbourne’s latest artisan bakery: a cute hole-in-the-wall bread bar in Prahran Market. The name? Q le Baker. The bread? Effing delicious. It’s the kind of bread that is practically a meal in itself.
You know how people come back from Paris and say ‘Yeah this bread is good, but it’s nothing like Paris’ and you think to yourself, ‘How good can bread be?’ Well here’s your answer. This is how good bread can be.
Quentin sources organic stone-ground flour from local mills like Rolling Stone and Laucke in South Australia. He then takes every ounce of his considerable bread-making skill, acquired during stints at Vue de Monde and Chez Dres, and creates sourdough masterpieces. Dense, dark loaves with a crust that could stop bullets. Porridge & black rice bread, stuffed with wild oats. Buttermilk hot dog buns so soft they practically collapse under their own weight.
Obviously this is the place you come for some of the best bread in town, but Quentin has expanded the store range to include handmade pies (he gets the meat from market legend, Gary’s Meats), apple turnovers, croissants that rival Lune, dark choc brownies topped with a sprinkle of sea salt, even a range of Q le Baker chutneys and pickles.
This place is about as close as you’re gonna get to a Montmartre boulangerie (without leaving South Yarra). The sleek fit-out was designed by local expert Adele Bates, who brought a touch of theatre to the space. You can peer through the big window at 7am and see the Q team hard at work, and the smell wafting through the market is pretty incredible.
The plan is to eventually stock artisanal take-home flour bags, the way some cafes stock coffee beans. Quentin’s mission is for every Melbournian to be eating (and making) the best bread they can.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White