Andy Bowdy, Sydney, New South Wales
- Food and Wine
Sydney patissier and cult social media star Andy Bowdy has opened his first cafe – and his trademark treats make it worth a visit.
By Katrina Lobley
Publised: 6 April, 2017
Dessert lovers, put the Sydney suburb of Enmore on your radar. Here, on an unassuming stretch of road between an appliance store and an Indian restaurant, you’ll find Saga – a dessert cafe that is the answer to your sugar-filled dreams.
GET READY FOR A SUGAR RUSH
Sydney dessert maestro Andrew Bowden (known to his social following as Andy Bowdy) made his name whipping up desserts during a stint at acclaimed Sydney restaurant Hartsyard, including cakes so mouth-watering that he’s ended up with more than 50,000 sugar fiends following him on Instagram.
Now, Sydney’s local media has gone wild for Andy’s latest creation: his own cafe. At Saga (just up from Hartsyard on Enmore Road), you can buy miniature versions of his show-stopper cakes in bite-sized portions that are perfect for photographing. Expect treats draped with decadent dollops of torched meringue, drizzled with rich and delicious chocolate fudge or salted caramel, and decorated with everything from delicate flowers to Maltesers and mandarin segments.
MEET ANDY BOWDY
Andy started degrees in visual arts and engineering. Neither panned out but those two interests blend perfectly in his pretty-as-a-picture, high-rise concoctions. He first worked in a kitchen after travelling to London. “I liked the idea of cooking once I started to do it,” he says. “I had to pay attention – it was a survival thing – and you do actually pick up things by listening to people and asking questions.” Perhaps he also picked up the family knack for cooking. “Mum’s not too shabby in the kitchen,” he says. Back in Sydney, other chefs took Andy under their wings, spotting his natural talents and nurturing them. It was during his time at Hartsyard that Andy became a social media star. Orders for his bespoke cakes started flooding in, and Andy often found himself staying up until 3am to make these special orders.
In a fun touch, Andy names his cakes after their inspiration. The Grace, for instance, honours a good friend of his partner, Saga manager Maddison Howes, who said she loved carrot cake and cheesecake. And who could go past the Tony [pink cake pictured], which marries raspberry mousse with cheesecake, cocoa nib cake, candied hazelnuts and lemon jam. Yum!
THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE FLAVOURS
One of the best things about Andy’s desserts, cheesecakes and pastries is his skill in coming up with unusual and hard-to-resist flavour combinations. He finds inspiration in things he loved as a child, as well as ideas seen while on the road. His frequent travels to the United States, for instance, inspired one of his most popular pastries. The Paris-Brest is traditionally a choux pastry ring filled with praline-flavoured cream. Andy twists the recipe into a mouthwatering France-meets-America concoction with pecan-pie filling and salted caramel Chantilly cream.
CAKES IN JARS AND OTHER IDEAS
Andy’s inventiveness with desserts also stretches to their presentation. One idea that went down a treat was to put small versions of his signature cakes into glass jars. After trying out some wacky ideas at Hartsyard, Andy has settled into a winning formula. “I’ve stopped being too clever with food combinations because people don’t dig it,” he says. “I once tried to do a red cabbage dessert – it worked but no one ordered it.” Today, his biggest problem at Saga is when too many customers come in, stand before the dessert cabinet, and say, “I’ll have one of everything”, sending the chefs into overdrive to fill the cabinet again. The cafe is only open Wednesdays to Sundays from 8am till 4pm. We suggest visiting earlier in the day to minimise your chances of missing out.
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