Once upon a time, Sydneysiders didn’t have a hole lot of choice when it came to the humble donut.
We had Krispy Kreme, Woolworths’ baking section and….well, that was really it.
Fast forward to 2016 and we have a brand new yeast on life. We’ve got more Doughnut Times than we do McDonald’s restaurants (not really but still), we’ve got Short Stop tearing it up on the shores of Barangaroo, we’ve got Woah Nelly, Grumpy Donuts and Donut Papi popping up in all of our favourite cafes.
However, which donut is the best? I honestly donut know, so I thought I’d find out.
Yep, I’m back at it again.
This was an incredibly hard post to make work simply due to logistics and a few of the donut makers not having shop fronts. I’ve never had to arrange more logistics in my life; damn, I’m sheltered. I also had way more donuts than I thought I would just so I could build my knowledge base. Instead, I just doubled my waist size and my knowledge didn’t really increase. Oops.
I did come up with a scoring system though. I decided to get the signature donut from every place, have them all across a couple of days and compare them based on the following:
Topping/Filling (this was originally glaze before I realised some of the donuts didn’t have glaze)
Intangibles (aka the made up category I use to make more donut jokes)
Let’s get right to it before this post spills into the 10,000 word category.
The Homer Simpson Donut from Woah Nelly
Woah Nelly is one of the original Sydney based donut start-ups and supplies to some of your favourite cafes all over the state. They’ve got more donut varieties than I do Pokémon (I’ve been playing A LOT)..
I asked Nelly which donut she considered her signature and she was like “You know which DOH-nut I’m going to say, right?”
My bad for asking.
The strawberry flavour that tops this donut is subtle but undeniably tasty. The ratio of glaze to donut doesn’t look right but my tastebuds have sent a memo to my eyes about how they’re idiots.
A tad bready but no one would ever mistake this donut for a loaf of sourdough.
Every bite led to a satisfied little nod, it’s like the nod that all Asian kids hope to get from their parents after giving them their report cards.
Anyone that references the Simpsons is A-Ok in my book.
Woah Nelly Donuts
Earl Grey & Rose donut from Short Stop Sydney
Straight from Melbourne, Short Stop has set up a permanent home in Barangaroo and business has been booming since day 1. I’ve had the pleasure of sampling almost all of their donuts and it was incredibly difficult trying to figure out what their signature donut was simply due to the fact that their signature is strong donuts across the board.
For the purpose of this exercise (that’s ironic because I’m going to need a tonne of exercise to work all of these donuts off), we decided to go with one of the menu mainstays.
The earl grey and rose.
One of the only donuts where we’re going to be talking about the topping AND filling, the earl grey and rose donut is the edible equivalent of someone who is super hot and also spends their weekends volunteering at a homeless shelter. A subtle rose glaze gives way to an earl grey filling with a tinge of lemon twist. Absolutely delicious.
I favour cakey donuts (another reminder that this post is super biased, subjective and should be taken with a grain of salt) and the earl grey’s donuts hits the spot for me.
Let’s have a look at the equation: perfect flavours as well as the exact texture that I’m looking for every time I crave a donut? I think the overall flavour is quite good.
I don’t have exact numbers but they’re half the reason that people who live outside of the city go and visit Barangaroo. That has to be worth something, right?
The Nutella donut from Doughnut Time
Do you guys remember when the only place you could get Doughnut Time was inside Topshop? They’ve now expanded to Bondi, Newtown, Glebe, World Square, The Galleries, Central Park as well as on 3 of the Jupiter’s moons with more stores to come.
I’m not complaining whatsoever.
Though they have an extensive range of donuts, there was no way in Hell I was going to accept writing about any of them outside of the Love at First bite.
It’s filled with Nutella. Wait, that was an understatement.
It houses enough Nutella to drown a toddler.
It houses enough Nutella to fix up all the gaps in my bathroom.
It houses enough Nutella to be spread across 6 slices of toast.
It houses enough Nutella to win me over and then some. Let’s get to the next category.
You know the Nutella I was speaking about in the previous paragraph? Well, every bite you take is more Nutella than donut. The dough is thick but not to the point where you’re wondering if she got implants or not.
Point is, the gooey Nutella dominates every mouthful and takes you back to when it was ok to have 3 spoonfuls of peanut butter for dinner and nothing else.
…You can tell that I’m really trying to not let this post’s length rival the Yellow Pages.
The Buttered Toast Donut from Grumpy Donuts
You can never be too grumpy when you have Grumpy Donuts sitting in front of you. One of the first indie donut brands, Grumpy has been doing solid business popping up at the Wedge Espresso, Single Origin and Orto Trading Co.
The only time I ever get grumpy is when I lodge an order and someone snipes the buttered toast donut from me before I get a chance to make sweet love to it.
Crunchy, a slight sweetness laces the top of this moody donut. Imagine a dollop of syrup on top of your toast in the morning and boom you have the flavour I got to have in and around my mouth.
A thicker, less cakey donut is what we’re working with here. The aforementioned crunch from the topping really shines through which adds some excitement to your chew.
Anyone want to hedge a guess as to what time of night I’m writing this to be writing sentences like “adding excitement to your chew?”
My high school English teacher would be so mad at me right now if she remembered my name.
This donut had the potential to be way too sweet but ended up being perfectly balanced in my mind.
I love the crew at Grumpy Donuts, Chocolatesuze and I were amongst the first to order a hot dozen from them and I’m so glad to see how far they’ve come. I’m just hoping they come a bit further and set up shop at my neighbour’s house.
The Taro bombo from Donut Papi
A young upstart, Kenneth of Donut Papi has quickly established himself as someone you donut want to mess with. However, you absolutely should mess around and definitely consider committing to his range of bombos.
Though all his flavours are popular, the taro one is the best.
(Disclaimer: Donut Papi donuts were provided for me upon request, opinions however remain my own)
My mate Ken makes it rain sugar on these bad boys and makes you feel super guilty when you log this into your Fitbit app afterwards but it’s worth it.
The filling. Good God, the filling.
It’s just filled to the brim with taro cream and bits of authentic taro as well.
The filling was almost too good as you can barely taste the donut. I had these piping hot and fresh so there was an element of oiliness too but the cream filling worked like an invisibility cloak and just covered everything else in its aura.
A taro flavoured donut is everything I ever wanted and more. The bits of taro really put it over the top for me and enhances what was already an incredibly tasty concoction.
It’s just so pretty and fun to say. Say a taro bombo from Donut Papi a couple of times and just try to wipe that grin from your face.
The Original Glaze from Krispy Kreme
Oh you didn’t think I would?
Please, like I could ever leave these out. I’ve literally kremed about these for a few nights during my lifetime (oh man, I just realised how dirty that sounded).
That trademark glaze is sweeter than the collective gestures of every boyfriend/husband on Valentine’s Day and I’ll be damned if I’m not tempted to eat a dozen every time a Krispy Kreme is within my vicinity.
A Krispy Kreme’s texture is just different to other donuts. Plenty of places offer glazed varieties but the Krispy Kreme is in its own category. It’s almost like eating a chocolate bar that has been sitting out in the sun for a while with the way it melts in your mouth.
It’s delicious even if every bite does contain more sugar than a Frankie J chorus. You know how I mentioned I’m tempted to eat a dozen every time I’m near a store? Well, the last time I had more than one during a single session floored me for the rest of the day.
Still the gold standard when it comes to donuts, Krispy Kreme’s ability to make me happy simply by brand recognition along is a force to be reckoned with. And also, they’re consistent as all Hell. A bad Krispy kreme is just a cold one but it’s still exactly the same as every other cold one you’ve ever had.
Alright. This is my least favourite part because all these donuts are great. Again, I cannot emphasise how much this is a subjective take on something that is impossible to be objective about. The scores could’ve been completely different if I had opted for a different donut from each supplier but hey this is how the donut crumbled.
Honestly, I loved every donut I got to try and would love to say thanks so much to the homies at all these different outlets for elevating a donut scene that was dormant.
Donut stop supplying Sydneysiders with a hole bunch of happiness.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got 16,000 appointments with a treadmill.
P.S.! You’ll get a chance to sample all of these guys and more all under the one roof at the upcoming Day of the Donut festival at the Flour Markets on the 30th of July.
Event information on Facebook