I have a confession to make. I love pies. Buttery shortcrust pastry, flaky puff and piping hot meaty filling – what’s not to love? But pies have got a bad rep over the years, some would say unfairly. Pies are like pizza – you can get the downright dirty variety, cheap n cheerful, homemade and gourmet. Sure some of those are probably best left where they came from, but the top-end are something to swoon about. A good pie is a marvellous thing.
With my love of pies, I jumped at the opportunity to sample goods from a new patisserie, Looma’s.
Looma’s is owned and operated by two brothers – Michael and Ibrahim Khatib. Michael graduated from UTS with a Software Engineering major, working for many years as a computer programmer and business analyst. Ibrahim is a qualified chef with 5 years’ experience at Altitude Shangri-La and a further 5 years’ experience at Croquembouche Patisserie. It was at Croquembouche that Ibrahim honed his pastry making skills in everything from pies, quiche and tarts through to macarons and croquembouche.
Having always wanted to be in business for themselves, the boys bought a factory in Bankstown in mid-2011. They converted the factory into a commercial bakery while both holding down full time jobs and in January this year they finally realised their dream in opening Looma’s. Ibrahim is the head chef, while Michael manages the business side of things.
And if you’re wondering, ‘Looma’ was Ibrahim’s childhood nickname.
Chicken, leek and mushroom pie ($4.50 individual/$24.00 family).
I am a pie lover and I was really looking forward to this pie. Baked fresh in the morning and delivered to my house a few hours later, all we needed to do was pop the pie in the oven to warm it through.
Cutting into the pie revealed chunky pieces of chicken, button mushrooms, leek, peas and bechamel sauce. The pie top was crispy and flaky just the way a good puff should be. The filling was full of chunks of both chicken breast and thigh meat, sauteed mushrooms and creamy bechamel; it was seasoned well and had a nice amount of garlic and thyme coming through. The shortcrust pastry base was incredibly short and buttery, it simply melted. I loved this pie, as did the rest of my family. We shared the family pie between 4 adults and it was easily enough food for lunch (there was even a little piece left over for me to demolish later).
Caramelised banana and chocolate tart ($24.00 8-inch/$34.00 10-inch).
I’ve recently become addicted to banana desserts and so I chose the caramelised banana and chocolate tart for dessert.
With a combination of banana and chocolate my expectations of the tart were high. Compared with the shortcrust pastry on the pie the tart’s pastry wasn’t short at all. In fact it was really hard. Disappointingly the chocolate ganache was extremely sweet, and while the caramelised bananas worked hard to break up the sweetness, even the dark chocolate glaze couldn’t balance it out. Unfortunately the tart didn’t meet my expectations. Knowing how good Looma’s savoury shortcrust pastry is it’s a shame the sweet shortcrust fell short. This one is definitely a dessert for the sweet-tooths out there.
Macarons ($2.50 each).
Everyone raves about macarons. Well, everyone except me. I absolutely adore crispy, crunchy, soft centred coconut macaroons but I am not a huge French macaron fan. But with Looma’s having sold 10,000 macarons at the Royal Easter show this year I was interested to see what their macarons were like.
The shells were smooth, the crusts thin and the ‘cookie’ centres soft and chewy. Salted caramel is usually my favourite macaron flavour but the intensity of the filling was a touch too much for me. I preferred the balance of the hazelnut and the chocolate macarons, but surprisingly the passionfruit with white chocolate centre stole the show with Dylan and I both declaring it our favourite. Looma’s macarons are rather impressive.
Looma’s can be found at farmer’s markets each weekend – Gladesville on Saturdays and Frenchs Forest on Sundays. Orders can also be placed directly on the Looma’s website, with delivery available Sydney wide. They sell a range of croquembouche, macarons, tarts, pies, quiche and pastries. They’ll also be launching a range of cakes later in the year.
We all agreed the pie was absolutely sensational and the macarons were scrumptious, but the tart was just too sweet. I’m looking forward to trying the rest of the pie range soon.
A Food Story sampled goods courtesy of Looma’s.
Unit 13, 25 Hoskins Ave
Bankstown NSW 2200
(02) 8710 8581