Imagine flour ground like coffee to order and used to bake artisan bread in a wood-fired oven.
Hold that thought because you can’t get it quite yet but that’s what Phil Agnew, one of a handful of bakers in the world interested in milling his own flour, is dreaming about.
You’ll find Phil and his freshly baked bread beside the blue oven at Chester Street Kitchen in Chester Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.
Chester Street Kitchen (CSK) is yet another new Brisbane operation from local dynamo Damian Griffiths who also owns Limes Hotel, the wildly popular Alfred & Constance and soon to open Alfredo’s Pizzeria. While the fit out is still a work in progress, CSK will be open every day from 9:30am except Monday with freshly baked bread from the blue-tiled wood-fired oven! The bread is for sale at the door with an honesty box system. Yes, your eyes do not deceive you, an honesty system in Fortitude Valley, and it’s working.
Chester Street Kitchen is set to be a sour-dough bakery by day and a neighbourhood bar with food by night, with the blue-tiled oven turning out everything from pastries to pizzas.
Jocelyn Hancock, who is Alfred and Constance’s Patron Chef, fondly describes baker Phil as a ‘complete bread geek’ and ‘one of the best bakers in the country’.
Phil is dedicated to his craft and has been raking coals in the middle of the night for weeks getting to know his oven.
Like fellow baker Ian Lowe from Launceston, Tasmania, Phil wants to encourage Australian flour millers to make flour like the Europeans do so our breads can have full, unique flavours. Most of the flour you can buy in a supermarket is at least six months old according to Ian and this makes a big difference to bread taste. It’s a bit like grinding coffee to order.
If you visit Launceston, make sure you find Ian’s soon to launch bakery.
Damien Griffiths has developed a strong paddock to plate concept throughout his venues with Jocelyn Hancock sourcing meat and vegetables from her hometown area of Kilarney in South West Queensland, about an hour and a half from Brisbane.
I came away with an arm load of some of the best bread I’ve tasted. If you have the chance to grab a loaf of their fig and aniseed bread, do yourself a big favour and take two. The whole concept opens in July.
Bottom line: Bread the way it should be.
Best tip: Take plenty of small change for the honesty box until the official reopening of Chester Street Kitchen.
Chester Street Kitchen, 32A Chester Street Fortitude Valley.