Emmer Bakery is open for takeout. A maximum of two people are allowed in the store. Masks are mandatory and hand sanitizer is at the counter.
Emmer is an artisanal bakery offering ever-changing sweet and savoury goods like croissants made every which way, breakfast sammies and an endless supply of bread.
The spot is owned by Philip Haddad, part dentist and part baker, who's been garnering a loyal following for his sourdough via Instagram since 2018, and jewelry maker Mark Lash.
Monday or Friday, rain or shine, the Harbord Village bakery is known to draw lines every morning for the delicious loaves of sourdough and fresh assortment of baked goods.
But don't worry if you can't get there first thing, the baking never stops here, with new items on sale throughout the day.
You can buy sourdough by the loaf or half loaf and you'll have your choice between country white ($12), 90 per cent flour and 10 per cent wheat, and porridge ($13.50), which is made with equal amounts of white and whole wheat four, with porridge throughout.
The sourdough's become Haddad's forte over the years thanks to its chewy texture and flaky crust. Visit a bit later in the day and you'll also get your hands on ham and cheese baguettes and twice-baked brioche.
Baking starts around 4 a.m. every day in order to fill the display with a host of other baked goods that make for nice add-ons to the fresh bread.
Croissants, sausage rolls and pain au chocolat are the mainstays, and staff tend to get a bit creative and branch out with new creations – like caramelized croissants with passionfruit – as the day carries on.
Both the pistachio ($9) and almond ($6.75) twice-baked croissants are double-baked from leftover croissants to achieve flaky consistency and come covered in toasted almonds and pistachio. The frangipane-to-bread ratio is also better than any other I've tried. Most come up too dry, but this definitely isn't the case at Emmer.
The pistachio isn't a usual option at other bakeries and cafes, and sells out within the first 20 minutes of opening on the day we visit. Although the toppings might look a little like overkill, the balance between the bread, sweet creamy filling and nutty notes is addictive.
The pain au chocolat ($7.50) filled with 80 per cent Soma chocolate from Madagascar beans is perfect for anyone who favours the bitterness of darker chocolate while another is made with blackcurrant ($8.50) also from the local chocolatier.
The Concord grape danish ($4.20) provides tangy and sweet fruit filling surrounded by a soft and delicate outer pastry.
There are also plenty of savoury options, like house-cured sausage rolls ($10), house-smoked ham and cheese croissant ($8.50) and egg brioches ($6) with either mushroom, ramp and gruyere or ham and gruyere.
A selection of sandwiches and toasts can also be made to order until 11 a.m., at which time deli lunch sandwiches take their place.
The sausage, egg and cheese on an English muffin ($10) is just one that's available. The flavourful sausage is made right here and it's topped with a fair amount of hot sauce.
The bacon butty ($10) definitely wins out in terms of popularity though. It's just your regular bacon sandwich on a bread similar to sourdough, except a bit of HP sauce is added for an interesting touch.
Tahini halloumi ($12) is topped with a creamy mixture of maple syrup and tahini, topped with halloumi cheese that's spent a bit of time on the grill, and drizzled with even more syrup and sesame seeds.
An espresso-based drink made with a Wega coffee machine provides a quick hit of caffeine while you're chowing down on one of the breakfast sandwiches or baked goods.
Emmer is a welcome addition to the area and already seems to be a neighbourhood fixture. Anything you try at the bustling bakery will likely impress, and something new is sure to always be on the roster.