A1 Lebanese Bakery
If Anthony Bourdain raved about A1 Lebanese Bakery, it has to be pretty darn good. After all, we know his cynical wit and brutally honest approach to food and the foodservice industry. Located in the suburb of Brunswick in Melbourne, you will find A1 Lebanese Bakery on Sydney Road nestled among countless other predominantly Middle Eastern restaurants and stores. Sydney Road is very a very long street that stretches into several suburbs and represents the diverse cultural life in Melbourne. It is impossible to walk the entire street given it's seemingly unending stretch and though it sounds like one might be overwhelm by the choices of Middle Eastern food varieties, one place clearly stands out. A1 Lebanese Bakery, the most famous bakery and cafe on Sydney Road, is where you will find older Middle Eastern men hang out and have tea either alone or with their other Middle Eastern friends. When even they come to A1 Lebanese Bakery to while away their morning or afternoon, you know this place delivers authenticity.
Don't expect anything fancy inside A1 Lebanese Bakery. It's the food that shines here. Walk up to the counter, place your order while you watch employees behind the counter tending to the flatbread and falafel, and then wait (im)patiently for your food to be brought to your table.
First of all, Anthony Bourdain did not lie about the flatbread. A1's flatbread, oh my goodness, wa the best I've ever had. The meat pizza came in the form of flatbread folded with very well seasoned ground meat filling, and was brought to our table fresh and warm. The flatbread was slightly crispy on the outside, yet it maintained a soft and light texture at every bite.
T's falafel plate was also served with a flatbread, which he enjoyed very much. Admittedly, I was more interested in the bright purple radish pickle which by the way was very good and addictive.
I believe I've possibly found the best baklava ever and it's none other than the ones at A1 Lebanese Bakery. As you know, baklava is made with seemingly a million layers of phyllo pastry that are so thin and delicate that you really can't see the individual layers anymore once they are brushed with rose syrup water in between the layers. At A1, a bite into the baklava, and you can actually see the individual paper-thin layers of phyllo dough. This means that at each bite I could also feel the individually delicate pastry layers itself instead of just chewing and biting into layers of phyllo that are just stuck together like how it is at other places. Note that although their baklavas come in several shapes and designs, the nuts filling are the same. We bought a 1/2 kg box of baklava which is a better option economically than purchasing it by the piece. They also have a separate coffee counter.
A1 Lebanese Bakery
643-645 Sydney Road