Every time I try to begin writing this review, I stop and start again, because I cannot simply introduce Red Door with a sentence or two. It really deserves some kind of outrageous song and dance routine, complete with costumes made out of puff pastry. It’s that good.
So by now you may think I am crazy, and have closed the page to this review, dismissing it as the work of a sausage roll-crazed lunatic. And you would probably be correct in that assumption. Alternatively, you are desperately curious as to what on earth I’m going on about, especially if you have never heard of Red Door before (you poor thing).
Red Door began its life as a little bakery on Croydon’s slightly hipster Queen/Elizabeth St precinct with – you guessed it – a red front door. It is very much out of the way, so if you were unaware of this little community hub, chances are you would never discover it. What was probably once a series of local shops (think butcher, baker, grocer – though I’m guessing here) has evolved into another little series of shops, with a couple of cafes thrown in. There are boutiques, the cafes (Let Them Eat is a particular favourite of mine), a hairdresser, a grocer (Queen Street Grocer, another favourite), a deli and of course, the constantly buzzing Red Door Bakery. The whole area has always seemed idyllic to me, with its painted stobie poles, laughing children running around, consistent sunny days and the general lovely vibe of the place.
Anyway, I think I may have originally found Red Door (and Queen St) through a review – perhaps from The Thousands – about a year and a half ago. And ever since that first visit I have been hooked, returning weekly for my fix. If you had to describe Red Door in one word, it would simply be real. Everything that is produced has a homemade look and taste to it, which is probably attributable to the seasonal, local and high quality produce used in the goods. It is many miles off what most bakeries produce and call food these days.
Every week I get the same thing for lunch – the Moroccan lamb and eggplant sausage roll. Each time I bite into one, the flavour is so unique that I am overcome with some kind of food bliss and it is hard to keep the “ahhhhh” sound from escaping my lips. Every mouthful reminds me of returning home.
My other companions tend to rotate their choices a bit – maybe a pork and sage sausage roll (I swear the lamb is better, my brother prefers the pork, but they are both lovely!), a shiraz and pancetta chunky angus beef pie or perhaps a chorizo, chicken and white bean pie, depending on the specials of the week. I, however, struggle to buy anything but my usual, and just sneak in a bite of everyone else’s meals to try new things. I’ve enjoyed all of them, but I keep going back to the Moroccan sausage roll!
For dessert I try to vary it up a bit. A favourite is the hazelnut swirl pastry, or a pear danish, or perhaps a plain croissant to toast with jam at home. The seasonal muffin is always a treat too. I loved last winter’s apple almond crumble muffin, and the quince and pistachio muffin (if Red Door is reading this, can these please make a comeback? ). Strawberry and white chocolate was a summer favourite, and the current variety is a banana muffin smothered with gooey caramel – it’s good. The almond croissants are also to die for (unless you’re allergic to nuts, in which case it just might not be worth actually dying for one), with a lovely, sweet, almond filling. I could go on forever about my love for Red Door, and all of the amazing things they sell, but I’ll try and keep the rest short.
Red Door sell a couple of types of bread. They have the sourdough loaf, which is what I usually buy each week. It’s perfect for toasties, with scrambled eggs and bacon or perhaps sneaking a slice with butter before dinner. There is also the olive oil loaf, which is much softer though keeps and toasts well, and I find is good for burgers (or sneaking a slice before dinner). They also have mini bread sticks which are a yummy snack or quick lunch (think toppings of olives and rosemary or chorizo and caramelised onion) and little bread rolls. More recently they have begun making a sourdough spiced fruit loaf. I bought one the very day they began selling them and enjoyed the entire loaf (mostly to myself) immensely. The spices were just right, and I loved the denseness of the bread, though perhaps would have preferred a little more dried fruit.
The coffee is also lovely, and I can particularly vouch for the iced coffee made with Red Door’s own espresso icecream. The icecream is the best bit. Don’t try to share it, or tears will be shed over the last spoonful.
And I couldn’t review Red Door without congratulating the lovely owners and staff. They are always so friendly and helpful, not to mention they make the best baked goods ever, which puts them pretty high in my books!
If you’re like me and live nowhere near Croydon (though willing to travel for Red Door goodness), you will be pleased to hear that the lovely owners have recently opened up a second store in Goodwood, on King William Rd. I was hesitant at first about Red Door 2, but upon visiting today I found it just as warm and welcoming as the Croydon store, if not more so. It was buzzing at 11am – I’m glad the locals on this side of town appreciate Red Door as much as those in the west!
So by now you are probably salivating all over your keyboard, unless bad descriptions and photos have no effect on you. Want your Red Door fix? Here are the details:
Red Door 1: 22 Elizabeth St, Croydon.
Red Door 2: 54 King William Rd, Goodwood.