Bam Bam Bakehouse has developed quite the following on the Gold Coast. Offer them delicious baked goods and they will come, so they say. Both Bam Bam Bakehouse and Paddock Bakery (run by the same people) had been an intended food destination for some time, but we were generally in the area either too late (they both close by 3pm), or were already too full of other food. This time, however, we made it a deliberate earlier destination.
Unsurprisingly, it was packed on a weekend at brunch time. The spaces at the little carpark nearby were all occupied, including vehicles illegally on the grass, so we walked across from street parking a little further away. It is on the ground floor of a commercial building, and tables of patrons spilled over into the covered walkway area. Fortunately, there was signage to indicate that customers should enter from the park side, and this avoided the confusion of people standing around the wrong area and not being attended to, or trying to weave in through the tables of already seated patrons. If you follow their directions, you come to the intended entrance and a podium indicating that you should wait there to be seated. Waitstaff came to tell us how long the estimated wait for a table was, then take our details. We were given menus to peruse in the meantime, so we could work up appetites in anticipation (and probably also to expedite the process and cut down on people dithering while taking up seats).
It didn’t turn out to be quite as long a wait as we feared (less than twenty minutes), and we were shown to a just-cleared table. We had by then already decided what we wanted from the menu, and proceeded to the counter to place our order.
The food menu has sections of brunch items, sandwiches, and salads. Most are available until 2pm, apart from the salads, which are available until 3pm. We had to have croissants of course, as that is one of the things Bam Bam Bakehouse is known for. As such, some dishes that would have been high on the list for consideration elsewhere, like the Sweetcorn fritters or the Turkish eggs, got barely a cursory glance. The sandwiches made on croissants, however, met the brief.
While at the counter, it was apparent that the cupboard was already mostly bare, and continued to be emptied at a rapid rate. Clearly, many others had already fulfilled their pastry cravings, and you have to get up pretty early in the morning to get ahead of the pack and get some goodies. Or, if you are organised enough, you can order ahead and they will set some aside for you..
We returned to our seats with our order number, and browsed the newspapers from a small table off to the side.
The space is nicely done as an open plan layout. With polished concrete floors, raw red brick walls across from white rendered walls, and black ceilings, it has a modern, industrial feel, but with its warm coloured light fittings and more eccentric touches like the large wooden bookcase filled with pots of greenery and old books, it manages to avoid seeming coldly clinical. The large floor to ceiling glass doors were pulled open to let both light and the light breeze in. Not having an enclosed space helped to disperse the surrounding patron chatter, but there were a lot of people there, and you couldn’t really hear the music that was playing over the ambient voices, just the occasional base notes. The tables had white marble tabletops and black metal french cafe-style legs, with matching black wooden chairs, playing off the light and dark contrast. They were close together, but it didn’t feel too cramped, though it walked the line.
Our soy iced lattes arrived in takeaway cups. They were nicely cool, with a chocolatey flavour and fruity hints. One of us thought that it could be stronger, but that was not a universally shared opinion.
The croissant sandwiches looked lovely when they were brought to the tables, a beautiful burnished golden brown, glossy on the outside, tall and filled with ingredients.
The Pork belly banh mi croissant had crispy slow braised Bangalow pork belly, pate, cucumber, pickled carrot and daikon, chilli, coriander, and siracha mayo. It was a good rendition of the more traditional banh mi. The pork belly pieces were tender, and had a good ratio of fat to meat. Crunchy, pickled carrot and cucumber strips gave it a bright, sweet and sour note. A smear of pate gave it extra meaty flavour. Sprigs of coriander gave it a fresh green tang. It had a good amount of sauce, enough that everything was covered and tasty, but not too much that things were soggy. It was a spicy mix, but with a mild warmth, rather than an overpoweringly fiery burning heat. The croissant itself was buttery and light. It was a little soft rather than crisp with a flaky shatter, unfortunately, but certainly had many layers. While less substantial than a baguette in weight and density, that evened out with the richness of the pastry. As a dish, it was better than the banh mi we have had at some Vietnamese eateries.
The Karage chicken croissant had karaage chicken, shredded iceberg lettuce, kewpie mayo, and teriyaki sauce made in-house. The chicken was cooked just right, so the was still tender inside, while the outside batter had a bit of crunch. The teriyaki sauce had flavours of garlic and soy, a moreish savoury and sweet mix. There was enough mayo to impart moisture and creaminess, but again without making everything a soggy mess. The shredded lettuce strips were a light, freshening filler that meant you could kind of call it a balanced meal. This was a tasty, nicely done item.
We also ordered sweet potato fries as a side. They were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Their natural sweetness was contrasted by a light dusting of salt. Too often, sweet potato fries are either overdone and mostly dry and burnt, or squishy throughout. These were some of the best prepared ones we have come across.
While we were eating, our of the corner of our eyes, we noticed something being brought out from the baking kitchen and stacked on the service counter. Making a beeline for the counter to investigate, it turned out to be a freshly made batch of twice baked almond croissants. They had to be tested, of course, and we bought ourselves a couple before they disappeared. The service staff advised us to leave the box open for a while to let them breathe so that the moisture would not get trapped and make them go soft. They were certainly hot in the box, and had a good weight.
Full from the other food we had just eaten, we had them later in the day. They were certainly a sight to behold, with a generous layer of sliced almonds on top of them, and a snowy dusting of powdered sugar. Unlike the croissants we had had at breakfast, these had crunchy pastry, likely due to the second round of baking. Biting into them, you had multiple crunch sensations as you went through the sliced almonds, the biscuity almond frangipane, then the croissant layers. It was certainly the satisfying bite we had been looking forward to. In the centre of the croissants were almond puree, smooth and lightly sweetened, a soft contrast to the crackle of the pastry. One can see why they sell out so quickly.
Bam Bam Bakehouse was definitely worth the trip. The food was delicious, and their twice-baked almond croissants would give Lune Croissanterie a run for its money. It is certainly a shorter distance from Brisbane.. Although you can expect it to be busy, they seemed to manage the flow and turnover well. If you want to actually get your hands on their baked goods though, you would be well advised to order ahead.
Food: 3.5/4 (if only the breakfast croissants had been crunchier at least on the outside..)
Price point: Croissant sandwiches $16.90. Other brunch items $13.90 to $18.90. Baked treats $6 to $8.90.
Value: Not bad.
Address: Shop 2, 2519-2521 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
Phone: 07 5526 5218
Website: Bam Bam Bakehouse