In Short: Three Mills Bakery makes some of the best sourdough and fruit bread you will find anywhere in the country. Add to that, pies that are so homely they literally run out the door, and delicious pastries that pull you in with their shiny, crispy crusts, and all manner of sweet treats. If you don’t walk out with a loaf of bread, you have missed out!
It has been a while between posts for me! Thinking back to the time I spent in Canberra in the latter part of this year, no one place sustained me more than my visits to Three Mills Bakery in Majura Park. While this review focuses on their delicious pastries, pie, and breakfast menu, I absolutely loved their sourdough. A loaf would keep me going for at least four days, and then I would make the drive from Wanniassa out to Majura Park and then onto the Clare Holland Hospice to spend those last few days with my Mum. For me, their sourdough is the gold standard of sourdough, and alongside Iggy’s in Bronte, it’s hard to surpass as the best sourdough in the land.
Another facet of the Three Mills experience is their staff. A playful and all-around happy vibe resonates throughout the bakery, and as the public servant workforce filed in each morning, it was remarkable to see the service team recite coffee orders as they made their way to the counter. While it’s all hands on deck during the week, a visit on a Saturday morning I think is the best time to experience Three Mills. Without the office workers, Three Mills is a serene environment coupled with the bonus of having access to all the breads and pies without fear of anything selling out! Trust me, on quite a few visits the pie warmer laid bare and glass display cabinet looked rather empty. On a Saturday morning though, you can burn through a couple hundred calories, and then come and spend it at Three Mills and be assured that you will have a hard time choosing which of their yummy treats to consume.
When I spied the immense and bulbous croissants we had to know what it would be like with cheese and ham. My first bite into the croissant produced a confetti of pastry flakes. It was perfectly crispy on the outside and buttery rich on the inside with a divine elasticity that epitomises a quality croissant. Salty and smoked flavour from the ham combined with the creamy melted cheese just elevated the flavour to a heavenly high. Layers and layers of croissant is utterly indulgent and perfectly exhibits the baking prowess in the kitchen. Three Mills, très bien!
When my cousins visited Australia and Canberra for the first time last month, one of their last Aussie treats before flying off was trying a meat pie. Fortunately for them, I was able to dash out to Three Mills and sneak in a couple pies before their daily supply was exhausted. Being from Malaysia, my cousin’s food is all about flavour, yet they were blown away by the chicken pie. On our visit to Three Mills it was Mavis who tried a pie, and she too was exulting its quality. There was flavour abound with delicious chunks of square ham, mixed in with sweet potato. Making this pie memorable was the honey mustard gravy. Mavis really loved the sweet flavours with the pops of heat from wholegrain mustard. That was just the filling! The pastry, like the croissant, was exquisite. Short, buttery with that soft almost pliable casing. I can understand now why Uber drivers love Canberra airport. It’s not just for the bigger fares from the airport, it’s also the opportunity to wallop a pie from here!
Rounding out a top start to the day was a trusty avo on toast. Three Mills feature their dark rye sourdough with slices of avocado, dukkah, and olive oil. Obviously, dark rye has dark brown colour with almost a chocolate cake-like texture. Yet, biting into it there was still that crispy crust that gave way to a soft and light centre. I enjoyed the sourdough tang along with the malt-like flavours of the rye. Creamy avocado takes to dukkah so well. The Three Mills dukkah mix is full of aroma and textures, with the flavours of coriander and cumin coming through subtly. Simple, yet so tasty!
In my mind, Three Mills sits at the very top of the tree as a bakery/cafe. Walk into many of the cafes in Canberra (Rye Cafe & Stand by Me) and their bread would be sourced from Three Mills. Their sourdough can be purchased at selected IGA stores, but if you want their pies, pastries or sweet treats, you really need to make your way out to their Majura Park site for a fuller experience. Needless to say, I am counting the days until we head back to Canberra for Christmas so that we can stock up! Check back on this post for our new discoveries.