having recently moved to Glasgow, i have been spending a lot of my time eating my way around the city, discovering the food scene here. one name that kept creeping up in conversations was bakery47. everyone i met asked me if i’d been yet, so a couple of weekends ago, my friend and i took a trip to the govanhill end of Victoria Road on the south side of the city to check it out. now, if you don’t know Glasgow, this area is certainly not known as a foodie mecca, and its not an area i have been to for well over 20 years. my friend Maggie and i kept checking google maps to make sure we were definitely in the right place until we spotted a small row of shops…and a small queue outside one of them. this must be it!
(by the way, if you’re wondering why you are reading this all in lower case, take a look at bakery47’s website. it appears they are not fans of the upper case. I read an article in which they said, “our philosophy: the freedom of the lower case. we are bakery47, little b not big B. the little letter has always appealed to us and offered us something the big letters don’t.” with that in mind, i decided to follow suit.)
bakery47 is a small artisan bakery run by Anna and Sam Luntley. they began as a home bakery in 2013 offering fresh bread, croissants, cakes and sweet treats to your door by home delivery and supplying a number of independent coffee houses and delis across Glasgow. with the support of council funding they moved to their own premises on the south side of the city in february 2015 and it appears to have been a huge success ever since. they open four mornings a week…thursday to sunday.
when we arrived at 8.55am on a very cold and frosty saturday morning, we decided to wait in the car and keep an eye on the queue of people stamping their feet on the frozen pavement, trying to get some feeling back in them! if it got too long, we told ourselves we would leave the car and grab our place. luckily for us, it didn’t get too crazy, so as soon as we saw the door open, we ran to the back of the queue and made our way inside.
bread lines the wall to your left, fresh eggs are on your right and in front of you, a table laden with fresh pastries…
and my god, those pastries look good…
it was actually quite difficult to take photos of everything as i was trying to take it all in, whilst being caught up in the middle of a bun fight…literally! as soon as those doors open, the place is immediately full. arms fly everywhere, with people grabbing paper bags to stuff with cinnamon buns, peanut butter & chocolate croissants, eggs in cases with sage…
everywhere you look there is something else you want to pick up. it all looks so beautiful.
then you look up and see a magnificent array of cakes with generous toppings of frosting. behind those, a kitchen buzzing with activity. coffee beans are grinding, milk is being steamed, pastries out coming of the oven, boiled eggs are being shelled…its all going on.
and while all this is being played out before us, we quickly realised that there are actually only 3 tables for people to sit at, plus a few stools at the window. we were there for breakfast so we had to grab a table fast. i took off my scarf, rolled it into a ball and flung it over people’s heads towards the remaining empty table in an attempt to secure it. my friend Maggie ran up and sat down, shouting “grab me a sourdough!”. this place opens at 9am at the weekends and closes when they sell out, which is usually 11am, so you don’t have much time to get what you want, you have to grab it fast. i swiped a couple of country sourdoughs and an almond croissant then joined Maggie at our table.
we ordered a couple of coffees and studied the menu while the place got busier and busier. by 9.15am we noticed more trays of almond croissants going out to replace the empty ones. we felt a chill around our legs as the door was propped open by the constant flow of customers. clearly people love this place.
coffee at bakery47 is kept simple during the week, when they offer ‘blend47’, a high quality filter coffee, roasted and created for them by coffee chocolate and tea on Argyle Street. at the weekend, however, it gets a little more interesting, as they hand over their coffee counter to local experts including Fun In A Cup, It All Started Here & Back to Black, as well as a few wild cards. you can see when your favourite coffee will be served on their website.
maggie and i could have eaten everything on the menu but narrowed it down to two dishes, which we decided to share. the portions are quite generous so we felt like we got a good taster of each one. this is toasted sourdough topped with ricotta, roasted shallots and two boiled eggs and a good sprinkling of dukkah (£5) …
what treat for the senses! the crust of the sourdough had a great crunch to it, then you get that glorious chewiness of the middle, then the soft creamy ricotta comes in with the sweet, juicy roasted shallots. the eggs were cooked to perfection, and the dish was finished off with the crunchy, nutty dukkah adding even more texture. i loved it.
we also ordered the sourdough cheese toastie with bakery piccalili (£4)…
again, the toast was crunchy and chewy, charred to perfection around the edges. a good strong cheese melted in the middle with some glorious crispy bits to lift it even more. the piccalili was divine. creamy and crunchy, and a perfect accompaniment to the toasted sandwich. comfort food heaven.
the place was buzzing the whole time we were there. there was a constant stream of people queuing to buy bread, cake and pastries, and another queue of people eyeballing everyone who had managed to get a table before them. this isn’t a place for a leisurely brunch and weekend catch-up with your friends and the newspapers, this is a run in, grab your bread and pastries, eat fast and go kinda place. when we got up from our table, a guy who had been staring at us for the last 20 minutes declared loudly, “thank god they’re going” and quickly jumped into our seats before anyone else had the chance to.
bakery47 appears to be a lot more than just a simple bakery. reading their website reveals they offer a bread barter on the first wednesday of every month. they lay out fresh loaves on the table available for trade rather than sale. no exchange will be denied: fresh herbs, garden fruit or flowers, home recipes, allotment vegetables, jams, pickles, preserves, an offer of service or advice, an old book, a crafted object….it is their hope that their bread will act as an initial capital and that perhaps over time others will have items they want to offer for barter.
this is a bakery run by people who clearly love what they do, and they are very good at doing it. the sourdough i bought from them was put to good use over the next few days. it had a great flavour and a beauitful airy, elastic and chewy texture to it. i can see why people travel from all over Glasgow early in the morning to get their bread and pastries before they sell out. i also saw a couple of stunning looking birthday cakes being picked up while i was waiting to pay.
i’ll definitely be back to try out more. its well worth getting out of bed early for, even on frosty mornings!
*remember to bring cash! they don’t take cards, although there is a cash point nearby if you need it.*
Thu & Fri: 8–11am
Sat & Sun: 9–11am
Mon – Wed: Closed