There are very few things us Aussies enjoy more in life than the great taste of a meat pie.
With that in mind, it’s time to sub out your city side smashed avo brekkie and sub in sourdough loaves bigger than your head, lemon meringue eclairs, custard tarts and, you guessed it, no shortage of our favourite flaky, buttery, meat-filled baked good—the classic meat pie.
These are the best country bakeries just out of Sydney.
Glenorie Bakery Café
Glenorie Bakery Café has a big old truck parked out front with a giant pie on the back of it, which is pretty appropriate because this joint knows its way around a damn fine pastry. Just 45-minutes from Sydney, the family-run business that churns out over 300 freshly baked goods every morning is known by locals and out-of-towners for its extensive range of tasty meat pies and decadent eclairs. The vibe inside is old school industrial meets country-and-western, kind of like where you’d imagine John Wayne would hang in the 70s.
If you know what’s good for you, get around the live music on Sundays and grab yourself a beef pie—voted no.1 pie in Sydney over multiple years, it's made with quality beef and homemade gravy. Then, grab a lemon meringue pie for dessert, because, well, you’d be a "lemon" if you didn’t. Glenorie Bakery has also just started doing custard Biscoff eclairs.
The Icky Sticky Patisserie
If you’re down for a tasty treat that just happens to be incredibly photogenic, hit up The Icky Sticky Patisserie. Whether you’re en route to wine region (the Hunter) or you’re just keen for a road trip up north, Icky Sticky is worthy of a pitstop.
The menu changes on the regular depending on what’s fresh and seasonal—but regular features include earl grey pannacotta tarts with pear jelly, blueberry coconut cheesecakes with white chocolate and cardamom glaze, and a selection of buttery Danishes and croissants. Icky Sticky now has a sibling called The Stick tucked away at Tulloch Wines in Pokolbin.
Pie In The Sky
This "true blue" Aussie petrol station turned pie shop is pretty much as traditional as it gets. Known for their crisp-crusted pies filled with generous chunks of lean, grass-fed beef, these baked goods are served hot and fresh daily. Grab a beef, bacon and cheese or potato mince pie and join the locals who have been doing just that for over thirty years. Pie In The Sky is a super casual, relaxed hilltop joint off the highway with bushland views and a community feel. A must if you’re road tripping up north and have a hankering for a classic Aussie pie.
Ludo’s Gourmet Kitchen
To put it simply, Ludo’s just knows its stuff. This gourmet patisserie up north has an array of sweet and savoury delights baked fresh on-site every day. They’ve got all the carb-heavy deliciousness you’ve been craving, whether its quiches, pies, artisan breads, cakes, tarts or drool-worthy desserts, they’re baking it. The real hero at this lavish bakery, however, is the sweet stuff—think cherry tartelettes, rich and creamy custard slices and choc hazelnut bro-nuts (the sweet, sweet child of the brioche and doughnut).
Ken’s Humble Pies
Ken’s has only been around a few years, but don’t let that stop you because this newcomer certainly gives the oldies a run for their money. Ken's is simple and centred on the three P’s—that's pies, pasties and profiteroles. The meats are slow-cooked or roasted, paired with fresh seafood or veggies, topped with flaky pastry and baked to golden perfection. We’re thinking a beef burgundy or bangers and mash pie by the water is a must next time you’re travelling up this way. As for those profiteroles, these babies are filled with vanilla cream and dipped in either ganache or crunchy toffee.
Long Track Pantry
This gorgeous, homey country cafe a few hundred clicks south-west of Sydney is your go-to for a perfect breakfast, a takeaway cake or some homemade preserves. Long Track Pantry has all those rustic barn feels while also feeling, as its name suggests, like you’re dining in the well-stocked pantry of your dreams. There is a tonne of beautiful homewares and homemade goods like chutneys and sauces ready to shop.
Pastry-wise, the banana and honey bread and raspberry and white chocolate muffins are just plain scrumptious, but if you’re feeling something more filling, go for the breakfast milk bun with egg, pancetta, relish and cheese, or the ploughman’s plate with local smoked meats, seasonal produce, house pickles and homemade beetroot relish. As you may have gathered, the condiments made on-site are very much a staple to every dish.
On top of this, you'll also find some epic take-home kits, which means you can bake Long Track Pantry's gooey chocolate fudge pudding and white choc and cranberry cookie as soon as you get back home.
Racine Bakery is the baby of hatted restaurant Racine. Everything is handmade on-site using seasonal, fresh ingredients, from organic sourdoughs to beautiful buttery pastries, cakes, biscuits and their famous butter pastry pies and sausage rolls.
The croissants at Racine Bakery have been voted the best in Australia, which is definitely a big call, but they’re absolutely phenomenal: buttery, flaky and served warm with house-made jam and butter. So. Damn. Yum. If you’re feeling like something on the lighter side, the signature Racine Muesli with yoghurt, lemon curd and fresh fruit is also spectacular.
Racine Bakery has also just created a glorious hybrid treat that is the combined goodness of an eclair, doughnut and cream bun and yes—it's heaven on earth. You and your road trip buddies can have a crack at the best portmanteau name for this one... we're stumped.
We'll be frank. You’re doing an absolute disservice to your tastebuds if you haven’t tried the pies at Hayden's Pies.
A rotating list of daily specials shows off Hayden's ultimate pie creativity. Think osso bucco, peking duck, wild boar and chorizo, Sunday roast (yes, with all the pork, potato and pea trimmings), cheeseburger and even, wait for it—crocodile pie. If you miss these, fear not, there’s also a staple steak and green peppercorn and a honey-roasted pumpkin, spinach and feta pie for all the vegos out there.
In the words of Urban List's creative director, Hayden's is a spot to "Warm your soul, fill your guts, be happy, eat a pie, shut up, just do it, bury me in pastry and gravy." And if that’s not enough to convince you to hit up the pie excellence at Hayden's, we don’t know what is.
Highlands Merchant certainly knows a thing or two about baked goods. You'll find this powder-blue coloured deli meets cafe meets homewares store on Argyle Street in Moss Vale. With the menu changing seasonally, there is always a tasty baked treat staring back at you at the front counter. Think savoury tarts, crumpets, buttery croissants, muffins, delicious fresh sambos, wraps and house-made toasted muesli jam-packed with goodness. The all-day breakfast roll is ever-changing but always spot-on—cue the perfect soft, fluffy bun or crunchy panini with soft eggs, sliced leg ham or maple bacon, greenery, cheese and the most delicious homemade sauce.
The Merchant will satisfy all those highland country feels you’ve been craving, with knitted throws, a warm cosy interior, friendly folks and plenty of home-style goodies to take home (and keep an eye out for its upcoming take-home mulled wine from Mr Consistent).
Dojo Bread is housed in a charming 1830s cottage in a back lane behind Braidwood’s main street. The team here is definitely one-of-a-kind with everything being made from scratch (by hand people, by hand). Sourdough is the main event here and we guarantee the loaves you made in iso were not this good. You'll also want to hit up the coffee and Greek-style "halva cake". To top it off, these guys also cover the staples so yes, the good old sausage roll is also making an appearance but we promise, you won't even need tomato sauce (it's that good).
The classic brekkie and lunch options at this extra-charming country cafe are worth a go, but the unmissable treats at Milkwood Bakery are the savoury and sweet pastries. Try one of the dressed-up ham and cheese croissants, lamb and pinenut sausage rolls or cure that sweet tooth with a brandy-soaked prune and custard tart or one of the many delicious tea cakes and friands.
Special mention goes to the famous Berry sourdough, Kalamata olive Vienna and the perfectly sweet sourdough fruit loaf. Oh, and it would be rude not to pair these with a blood orange marmalade or Moroccan eggplant dip while you’re at it.
Flour Water Salt
These guys are all about just doing a few things, and doing them right. Their organic, artisan sourdough that uses, as the name suggests, just flour, water and salt, is perfection. The cakes, pastries and biscuits are to die for, and you'll want to try out one of the lemon and vanilla bean curd tarts if you know what’s good for you.
However, the real MVPs at Flour Water Salt are the hot savoury tarts, pies and sausage roll as Flour Salt Water uses its very own shortcrust and Belgian butter puff pastry and it is utterly phenomenal. We’re talking lamb, mint and rosemary sausage rolls, beef and Guinness pies with onion jam, fetta and thyme tarts. The house-made soup in the cooler months is also a winner. And, on top of being a killer bakery, they also have your next picnic sorted. Epic picnic hampers are sold here and they’re packed with plenty of goodness so you can pick it up and head to the closest beach or park.
Bowral, Berrima, Mittagong
Locals rise early to beat the queues at Gumnut Patisserie, because it’s just that damn good. This family-run business is over two decades old and well known for beyond beautiful fine pastries and cakes. Warning: when you get your hot hands on a Gumnut cake you’ll probably be daydreaming about it for a long while afterwards. We’re not going to make this one easy on you, because literally everything will hit the sweet spot here, but let’s just say the lemon meringue, mud cakes and decadent banoffee pie are out of this world. Oh, the fresh cream eclairs and jam-packed, melt-in-your-mouth vanilla slices are kind of ridiculous too. You'll also want to try Gumnut's version of the humble custard tart.
Robertson Pie Shop
Ah, the famous Robbo Pie Shop, where the Harley Davidsons congregate out front and the outrageously tasty pastries congregate in our bellies. This one is simply mandatory. Grab a chicken, camembert and leek or shepherd’s pie, followed by an apple turnover and have absolutely no face-stuffing regrets afterwards. You are welcome.
Planning a local escape? Book yourself a stay at one of these off-grid tiny houses and cabins.
Image credit: The Icky Sticky Patisserie | Roman Kraft | Elisheva Gohar | Racine Bakery | Hayden's Pies |Otto Norin | Gumnut Patisserie