Easter egg chocolate is one of my shameful food predilections (the ‘regular’ stuff, none of this fancy ‘real’ chocolate business). After polishing off a hot chip butty, a can of baked beans or a Chiko roll*, I might as well bite the ears of a Red Tulip bunny and wallow in my gastronomic disgrace.
However, I would relinquish that ravaged rabbit in a nanosecond if offered a fresh Hot Cross Bun (I would even surrender my cache of Cadbury Marshmallow Bunnies – and I really love those).
Nothing gives me more pleasure than ripping into a freshly baked bread bun. I adore bread. Simply can’t resist the stuff…especially when it’s combined with aromatic spices, juicy currants and a sticky, sweet glaze.
Inconveniently, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the ingestion of wheat induces my physical devastation (and doesn’t do a whole lot for my emotional equilibrium either). Consequently, bread has become another of my shameful food predilections (apparently it’s not cool to moan about a ‘mystery’ illness when breadcrumbs can be spotted on your clothes…and in your hair, car, bed sheets…).
This Easter, however, I was determined to push aside all feelings of shame and guilt (and subdue any physical distress with a load of digestive enzymes) and hunt down Brisbane’s best Hot Cross Buns (you know, for the greater good and all that).
My hunt involved taste testing one freshly baked bun from 13 prominent bakeries around town (I am such a culinary martyr).**
I’m happy to say that there were no real shockers amongst the baker’s dozen tested – only a commendable number of standouts.
Admittedly, the determining of these standouts was a little biased toward my personal preference for a ‘traditional’ style Hot Cross Bun – fluffy, moist (and ever so slightly chewy) with the right balance of juicy fruit and sweet spice and a glazed top, which is shiny and sticky.
Nevertheless, each bun was equitably assessed based on a number of factors, including appearance and aroma; the quality and balance of its components; texture and mouth feel and overall flavour (obviously, this was a very serious and meticulous undertaking).
So, without further ado…
My five favourite Hot Cross Buns in Brisbane can be found at (and in no particular order):
Oxford Street Bakery
153 Oxford Street, Bulimba
Price: $1.80 each or 6 for $7.00
Tops: This bun was very ‘old-school’ and the one closest to the traditional type I grew up with. A wonderfully sweet and spicy aroma was backed up by a bun which was light and fluffy, yet full and moist and with a slight ‘chewiness’ that created the perfect texture for me. The fruit (currants and sultanas) to bread ratio was spot on (about 30/70).
Flops: The bun could perhaps be considered a little ‘straight-forward’ in flavour and light on spice.
Flour & Chocolate Patisserie
4/621 Wynnum Road, Morningside
Price: $2.00 each or 6 for $10.00
Tops: An attractive looking bun, which instantly seduced me with its sticky and shiny glazed top and icing sugar cross. The robust, yet light and fluffy, texture was complimented by a pleasing mix of cinnamon spice and complex fruit flavours (including currants, sultanas and apricots).
Flops: The big slugs of dried apricot in the bun may not be to everyone’s liking.
584 Waterworks Road, Ashgrove
(Also stores at 25 Balaclava Street, Woolloongabba and 876 Brunswick Street, New Farm)
Price: $2.50 each
Tops: Probably the bun with the richest flavour. The deep ‘butteriness’ of the bread was punctuated by loads of plump, sweet fruit and a subtle citrus tang from a smattering of orange peel. Topped off with a pleasingly thick, and slightly chewy, crust.
Flops: Perhaps a little too dense and fruity for those who prefer a fluffier and ‘breadier’ Hot Cross Bun.
Shop 8 Centro On James Street, Fortitude Valley
Price: $1.90 each of 6 for $11.00
Tops: I would not have expected anything less from one of Brisbane’s long-time favourite Easter bun creators. The traditional style bun is filled with even more luscious fruit this year – including currants, sultanas, raisins, apricots and candied peel – and fills the mouth with a kaleidoscope of punchy fruit flavours. The sweet and sticky glazed top was also present and correct.
Flops: The medley of fruit threatens to overpower the lovely, subtle flavour of the bread.
Rock N Roll Bakery (le campagne)
500 Logan Rd, Greenslopes
Price: $1.80 each
Tops: A very attractive looking bun with a dense, soft texture and jam-packed with loads of rich, spicy fruit. The bun also nailed the glossy and chewy glazed top I love so much.
Flops: The abundance of fruit and slightly heavier texture and flavour may not be as appealing to the Hot Cross Bun ‘purists’.
Plus, an honourable mention…
Gluten Free Bakery
Unit 1, 10 Helium Street, Narangba
Price: 6 for $8.30
Tops: A very admirable bun for one that is free of gluten, wheat, dairy and nuts. The texture was lighter than expected and the fruit was lush and plentiful. Good price per half doz and available (frozen) in selected delis and food stores across Queensland.
Flops: Without gluten and a little dairy the bun was never going to be the fluffiest, richest and butteriest one out there. But, it was still pretty impressive…especially fresh out of the toaster!
So there you have it. The Gourmet Belle bunny’s pick of Brisbane’s hottest buns.
I should note that the other seven Hot Cross Buns tasted were also praiseworthy. These buns were from:
- Tognini’s Bistro Deli Cafe, Spring Hill
- Le Vosh Patisserie, Red Hill
- Sol Breads, West End
- Chouquette, New Farm
- Uncle Bob’s Bakery, Belmont (and other bayside locations)
- Wray Organic, Cannon Hill (and other QLD locations)
- Brot, Ashgrove
You can view the wrap on the rest of these (and all 13) hot cross buns here.
So, do you agree with this bunny’s top picks? Has your favourite been missed off the list? Be sure to let me know and leave your comments and/or recommendations below!
AND be sure to check back here very soon for my recipe for Spelt Hot Cross Buns (wheat and dairy free)!
*Is it less uncouth, and at all acceptable, to eat Chiko rolls if I’ve made them myself? Or is that just really desperate?
** Did I mention that I really love bread?
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