Food News

When two ex-Vue Group bakers open a Melbourne shop, only good things happen

The bread is all sourdough and the croissants are inspired by the co-owner’s family ice-creamery. It’s a French bakery, done in that North Melbourne way.
Bread Club co-owners Brice Antier and Tim Beylie.

Bread Club co-owners Brice Antier and Tim Beylie.

Griffin Sim

It’s a French bakery, sure, but at Melbourne’s Bread Club they’ve abandoned the traditional look in favour of a sleek fit-out and a refreshing colour scheme that can best be described as minimalist mint.

“A lot of bakeries have clusters of French provincial things and wood baskets everywhere. That’s not what we wanted,” says co-owner Tim Beylie. Instead what he and business partner Brice Antier wanted to do is good bread and pastries for the people.

The pair developed a passion for baking in their teenage years. Beylie is a second-generation pastry chef who started an apprenticeship with his father near Biarritz in the south-western tip of France; while a young Antier, who hails from Le-May-sur-Èvre in the mid-western part of the country, learnt the ropes at his local bakery.

Inside Bread Club.

(Photo: Griffin Simm)

Beylie moved to Melbourne at 18, fine-tuning the art of sourdough baking at Carlton’s Baker D. Chirico before clinching the head baker gig at Vue Group, which provides bread for restaurants such as Vue de Monde. When Antier joined the team in 2011 the two struck up a friendship. Antier went on to work at Tivoli Road Bakery in South Yarra and Beylie at Woodfrog Bakery in St Kilda, before the pair reunited at Baker D. Chirico. Then, at the end of January this year, they opened Bread Club on Queensberry Street, North Melbourne. “It gets to the point where you want to be the shot-caller and make the decisions,” says Antier.

Bread Club has an all-sourdough membership. All their bread – loaves, baguettes, buns – is naturally leavened using a sourdough starter, not commercial yeast. The country loaf is a denser bread made of rye and spelt; the seeded loaf contains linseed, soybeans, sesame, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, but has a remarkably light texture. “We tried to find the right balance so that it’s not too dense,” says Antier.

Loaves and baguettes.

(Photo: Griffin Simm)

Bake it, and they will come. Even on a weekday morning, the place is bustling. “People will travel for good bread,” says Beylie.

Behind the glass cabinet lie a selection of classic pastries including croissants, pains au chocolat and seasonal-fruit Danishes. (They’re currently made with French butter but in the coming weeks the duo plans to phase this out in favour of Australian-made Pepe Saya butter.)

Croissant specials are inspired by the Beylie family’s pastry and ice-cream shop in France; in the strawberry Melba croissant pastry is filled with baked strawberries, strawberry coulis and whipped cream, and topped with fresh strawberries and flaked almonds.

Strawberry Melba croissant.

If you’re after more of a meal, you’ll find simple baguette sandwiches, breakfast buns and pies. The zucchini, cheese and mint pie was a hit this summer, and heartier pie fillings such as duck and cassoulet will be introduced once the cooler weather arrives.

“Our goal is for people to come every day to have a croissant and coffee or grab a baguette like in France, not only for special occasions,” says Antier.

Later in the year, the pair hopes to open Bread Club for Sunday sessions, complete with music, drinks, and more oleaginous options. “Perhaps something greasy like a big pizza slice,” says Beylie.

Bread Club, 558 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne, Vic

Mon–Fri 7am–3pm, Sat 8am–3pm, Sun 8am–2pm

Almond croissants and saffron buns.

(Photo: Griffin Simm)

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