A1 Bakery’s halloumi pie is one of Melbourne’s best snacks, certified. But depending on where you live, it’s historically been one that must be pilgrimaged for – either to the original location at the Coburg end of Sydney Road, its Dandenong sequel, or the more recent Fairfield branch. Now, in a coup de curds for the dining public of Fitzroy, it’s right there for the loving at the bakery’s newest outpost near the corner of Johnston and Brunswick Streets, and it’s as irresistible as ever.
A symphony of simplicity, the halloumi pie straddles the sweet-savoury divide: a filling of straight halloumi aided by gloriously textured pastry, powdery with flour on the outside, firm enough to inspire confidence, soft enough to preclude flaking.
The team will be pumping them out from Tuesday to Sunday from the new site (formerly Tora Dumplings) – a considerably smaller space than the Brunswick, Fairfield and Dandenong stores, with room for roughly 15 people to sit in and snack from a menu that has done away with the platters and some of the larger offerings found in the other stores.
A1 heads needn’t worry too much, though; most of the handheld hits around which the bakery’s cult following was built have found their way to Fitzroy, including the much-loved shanklish and spinach and cheese pies, among other more substantial favourites like the chicken shawarma wrap. A tight edit of Middle Eastern groceries and takeaway desserts also feature in a boon for the pantries of the inner north.
High time for a pie time, then, Fitzroy.
By Frank Sweet