MasterChef 2014 Quarter Finalist and local celebrity chef Sean Gravina is about to throw open the doors to his first bakery, which has been in the works for two years.
Describing it as “cross between a cosy French boulangerie with warm, fresh bakes and breads and a boisterous Italian salumeria offering the tastiest cheeses and salami” in an interview in 2016, his dream of bringing a modern interpretation of today’s food in a genuine and homely manner is finally about to come true. Crust Deli Bakery, on Mensija Street, St Julian’s, will welcome its first customers this Friday.
“Everyone’s very excited about it, and we’ve had a really positive response,” Sean says, as he busies himself with the finishing touches. I’ll say – the bakery’s facebook page has already amassed close to 1.5k likes before opening! “It’s nerve-wracking at the same time, as we’re launching a new concept,” he continues, explaining that this weekend the bakery will be soft launching with a limited menu, so as to provide the best level of service possible. “95 per cent of the food will be prepared in-house, so I want to start slow and gradually build up, introducing more and more menu items,” he says.
“The process has taken about two years, and I’ve been heavily involved in everything, from the design of the kitchen to the décor, as well as building the concept and menu. I am blessed to have had a great team of designers and partners who have been invaluable, and I’m thankful to everyone that’s been involved and helped out,” the busy chef continues.
So, what can we expect to find on the menu?
“We’ll be starting with one or two platters featuring cheeses, salumeria and antipasti, two hot sandwich variations, salads with a vegan option, as well as a vegan burger,” he says, adding that there might also be room for one of his famous pies (exciting!)
Speaking of catering for different diets, Sean explains that we can expect vegan and vegetarian options, as well as some lactose-free and gluten-free items, but is careful to point out that in a bakery where lots of flour is used, he can’t guarantee that the items will be safe for coeliacs. “There will be gluten-free items for those who follow a reduced gluten diet, but I can’t account for air contamination,” he warns – best be genuine!
As for desserts, he says, “we’ll have a vegan sweet loaf served with vegan vanilla ice cream, and a date and ginger sweet loaf which will be served with cinnamon ice cream” – I guess I’ll know what I’ll be having! There’ll also be a selection of wines, prosecco and whiskey to make the most of the celebratory atmosphere, and coffee if you’re just looking to pop in for a quick treat.
The opening weekend is already full (told you it’s highly anticipated) but make sure you check it out from Monday onwards if you’re in St Julian’s and let us know what you think – or better yet, send photos!